Coming Soon to a World Near You

Richard Stuebi wrote, astutely, of energy efficiency:

“What happened to efficiency? Renewable energy is wonderful and did well in the past year, but unfortunately, there were few significant developments on the energy efficiency front. Oh, sure, there were more LEED buildings, fluorescent light sales continued to increase, and hybrid cars are no longer a curiosity. But, there was really no defining moment for the demand-side arguing for an upcoming step-change. Pity, because we need this side of the energy equation to be far more robust — the opportunities here are enormous, and often more cost-effective than renewables.”

I am working on a ‘whole-house’ home performance program in partnership with the EPA. The task to raise and broaden awareness of home performance is huge. Home performance is all about a person’s living environment — health, comfort, safety and noise — not just about a utility bill. It’s about asset retention and durability of the home and longevity of the mechanical equipment in that home. Home performance goes way beyond energy: It’s about fixing homes so that they function well and make people happy. It’s about taking care of one’s home, just as one would a car or a boat or one’s own body. The home performance contractor is the doctor that sees the home as a whole system.

The EPA has a robust brand in Energy Star (an iteration of the Green Lights program). I just don’t know if it can get its arms around the marketing…that you get to the energy savings by marketing what people love and that is a healthy living environment — what people wake up to each day. You sell the energy efficiency inherent in home performance by NOT selling it on energy. It’s almost a shame that the program has energy in the name.

I’ll let you know how much this posting ticks off my friends at the EPA.

Other goings on this week:

David Schaller, a sustainable development coordinator in the EPA’s Denver office, distributes a regular round-up of “Sustainable Practices — Innovations, Technologies, and Products Coming Soon to a World Near You.” You may find this (pleasingly pithy) series of emails interesting, too. Sign up by contacting David at

I met Ken Wallace of Nova Scotia through WaveBerg (a wave energy startup) and thoroughly enjoyed his New Year’s wish, Sealevel Predictions for 2007:
– Global sanity on the increase.
– US abandons the cheap oil economy and gets back to basics.
– China grants independence for Tibet.
– Gross National Happiness measures adopted at UN.
– Renewable energy sector soars.
– Canada goes Green – Elizabeth May takes parliamentary seat.
– Blue Moon in June.

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