Therefore, to change energy behavior, the household needs to have power bill educationdetailsonline and a complete understanding of the information that is available on almost all monthly statements. To connect real dollars and cents to behavior is the best way to change wasteful behavior.
Energy ED and Comfort Perceptions:
Whenever my daughter complains about a simple hardship, like having to walk home from school in 50 degree weather, I mention her ancestors and the Oregon Trail. If walking home in mild weather was a true hardship, we would still be living in Europe somewhere with everybody else.
A lot of people would like to throw the energy educator out the door the minute they mention 68 degrees and thermostat in the same sentence. Are we all getting ridiculously soft or are the comfort levels we have come to expect simply a dividend of having someone else live in a covered wagon for 4 months.
The energy educator needs to take a two fold approach here. One is to re-train the household into realizing that some comfort expectations are not really needed comforts and the second is to point out that the lack of comfort can have more to do with the lack of air sealing then the setting on the thermostat.
Once the household blames comfort problems on the lack of insulation and the holes in the heating ducts instead of the size of the furnace and the out-of-adjustment thermostat, the household can get back to saving energy in comfort.
Energy ED and Household Operation:
Chances are if you don’t know what the brake pedal does and where it is located, you shouldn’t be trying to drive the car. You can get in the car, stick your elbow out the window, start the car rolling down the road, but it’s all going to be wasted when you can’t get the car stopped. Remember, car insurance covers dents and missing bumpers, but home insurance doesn’t cover energy waste.
Energy education needs to provide training on where your homes brakes are located and how to use them. Only with an understanding of basic home energy systems, can the household use those systems in a more energy efficient manner.
The challenge of the energy educator is to provide the household with a basic understanding of how their homes energy systems work and how they work with each other. With the broad differences in homes spanning more than a hundred years, this is no easy task for the educator.
The educator is like the child with a huge, connect-the-dots puzzle in front of them. The educator completes the challenge by connecting all the energy system dots in a home until they make a complete picture that is understood by the household.
Energy ED and System Maintenance:
Now that the Energy Educator has provided information on the energy systems and how they work together, he or she needs to provide training on the benefit of maintaining those systems. A car that can get 50 miles per gallon will not be able to realize that great fuel mileage if the tires are flat.
With the coming cold weather, the Jones’s decided it was time to finally have insulation installed under the floor. Their feet have been cold long enough and warming their feet was contributing to huge increases in their power bill. Insulation was installed under the floor, but the foundation vents were not repaired which allowed critters to enjoy the newly insulated underfloor as well. As the critters rearranged the insulation, placing a lot of it in the dirt, most of the benefit of installing insulation was lost by not properly maintaining both the insulation and the vents.
One of the most important maintenance items is the heat pump. Households get lulled into a sense of having great energy efficiency once they have the benefit of a heat pump. The energy educators job is to provide information on the importance of having a Heating Contractor service the heat pump system once a year to get the most energy efficiency from the heat pump every year. Once you get a Prius, don’t maintain it it like a John Deere and drive it like a Mustang.