As the world continues to struggle with how to generate energy, many consumers are bypassing the problem by going to work with their own solutions. A few are generating power themselves, but that’s an expensive and difficult proposition. The most common way people are saving energy is by figuring out ways to use less electricity.
Almost any building you see includes at least a few electrical components, and the more carefully those components are monitored, the better the power bill looks each month. The growing dollar value of their successful changes builds momentum for additional changes, so some consumers really make a difference.
But there are still many consumers who aren’t going to any great lengths to cut back. Word of mouth from power-saving citizens isn’t always enough. Sometimes it takes the government’s example to get people in motion.
Governments are always on the lookout for ways to save money. As big consumers of electricity, many of them are finding ways to economize on their power consumption, often in the same ways that consumers save power.
Cities provide power to streetlights, stoplights, government facilities, and many other points of use. When they can economize on those uses, they can have a big impact on their financial health.
So many cities are updating things. They are changing policies about which lights in buildings should be left on at the end of the day. They are installing lower-consumption bulbs in fixtures indoor and out. The price of some City of Lethbridge utilites were cut by shopping around for cheaper rates in the deregulated energy market.
Insulation is being upgraded, and higher energy standards are being demanded of new construction. Buildings are being weatherproofed, and many are adding blinds or window tinting to make wiser use of solar energy.
Leading The Way
Making progress toward environmental goals requires sincere buy-in from all involved parties. That includes businesses, individuals, and units of government. Just as it is with adopting anything new, it takes a few people to start the movement in order to build momentum and get larger numbers involved.
As a rule, people vote with their checkbooks first; if they don’t feel they will be able to afford a change, they won’t make it. Consequently, it sometimes takes the initiative of a government entity to spur consumers to take on changes. They must show that their upgrades don’t just result in speculative savings but in real dollars that can be seen and saved.
Touting Their Successes
Of course, all the progress in the world won’t impact public opinion if the government doesn’t share their results. When cities, provinces, and other units of government find ways to reduce their electrical consumption and save money, they need to spread the word.
Good campaigns should include several key elements. First, the government should tell why they chose to start economizing. The rationale could be framed as strictly a cost-cutting measure, or it could take a human side as a response to a young child’s plea to help the environment.
Second, the campaign should tell what they did to save energy, and then finally, what the financial results were on the government. As icing on the cake, they could also include a summary of how they spent the money that they saved.
Everybody uses some electricity. It will always be that way. But developing the ability to perform normal functions and activities with lower amounts of electricity is an effective way to save money and reduce power demands. With their detailed management information, cities are a perfect choice to help set the example.