Energy efficiency, as I found out last week, can be a lot like comedy…sometimes it’s all in the timing.
It started last Tuesday, April 9, when I had the privilege of speaking at Energy Into Action, an event co-hosted by several electricity distribution companies and the Ontario Power Authority that was intended to do exactly what the event’s name suggested; take all of the energy (ouch, sorry) around saving energy and turn it into action. There was information on identifying energy saving opportunitiess, technical bits, the upcoming reporting requirements under Regulation 397/11 made under the Green Energy Act, and at least one example (me) of how one organization (UHN) is planning on meeting those requirements. While the topics and attendees were varied, the underlying message was clear: we know what we need to do around saving energy, so let’s get on with it.
Then the following Friday, I attended the Canadian Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (CEEA) Thought Leaders Forum (just attended, not speaking…no leading thoughts here, folks). The day started off with the results of a survey commissioned by CEEA that found that 75% of Canadians believe conserving energy to be important, with 37% of them claiming to have already done a great deal to save energy (and I’m happy to note that the recent Energy & Environment survey of UHN staff found results that supported energy efficiency to an even greater extent). But the take home message for me was that 58% of those surveyed intended to do more to save energy than they had to date – that’s a lot of energy around energy saving…which is perfect timing for those already primed to turn energy into action.
Fortunately, this has been the strategy for Energy & Environment since day one – the first thing we need to do is make people care about energy efficiency (or recycling or pollution prevention or organic free range anchovies or…) and then, once they’re caring, you need to give them as many tools and as much support as possible to turn good intentions into actions. Or, in other words, you need to stand up and deliver the punch line…