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CARA PIKE Director, the Social Capital Project of The Resource Innovation Group What Americans Think about Energy Efficiency.

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Presentation on theme: "CARA PIKE Director, the Social Capital Project of The Resource Innovation Group What Americans Think about Energy Efficiency."— Presentation transcript:

1 CARA PIKE Director, the Social Capital Project of The Resource Innovation Group What Americans Think about Energy Efficiency September 30, 2010

2 OVERVIEW POLLING TRENDS KEY CONSTITUENCIES IN WA STATE PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT MODELS AND LOCAL SUCCESS STORIES

3 “We should do this because it is the right thing to do. Saving energy helps everybody in the long run.” The majority of Americans support policies to promote energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is considered a practical thing to do. Energy efficiency taps values related to responsibility and stewardship AND it is perceived to be in people’s self-interest because it can save money.

4 SOME OF THE CHALLENGES…. People tend to think about energy production more than its use. Energy efficiency is not an exciting issue. Technology is seen to evolve at its own pace. Americans are extremely cost sensitive which in the case of energy efficiency, has both pros and cons. Concern and behavior are often disconnected. Many cost and structural barriers exist.

5 Energy Efficiency Motivates Across the Political Spectrum Number of energy efficiency improvements made to home Actions Americans want to take to improve the energy efficiency of their homes over the coming year: Insulating the attic (9-17%) Caulking & weather-stripping (12-28%) Getting a more efficient furnace (12-29%) Getting a more efficient air conditioner (14-27%) Getting a more efficient water heater (14-30%) Changing most of their lighting CFLs (28-51%) Maibach 2009

6 Energy Efficiency Motivates Across the Political Spectrum Maibach 2009 Number of habitual conservation actions Routine energy conservation actions Regularly turn off lights (93%) Set the thermostat higher or use AC in summer (56%) Set thermostat lower in winter (63%) Regularly use public transportation or car-pool (17%) Regularly walk or bike instead of driving (19%) Maibach 2009

7 THE ECOLOGICAL ROADMAP

8 WA CONSTITEUNCY OPPORTUNITIES Tap Ecological Concern Comfort with Ambiguity Civic Engagement Global Consciousness Avoid National Pride American Entitlement Confidence in Big Business 9% of adults, 4% of voters 35% make $100k+ 49% have post grad degree 25% are 65+ years of age 89% Caucasian 93% very likely to vote 68% rank GW as one of the most important issues GREENEST AMERICANS

9 Tap National Pride Importance of Discipline Confidence in Big Business Avoid Ecological Concern Global Consciousness Comfort with Ambiguity 3% of adults, 3% of voters 63% male 32% make >$100k 53% live in a rural area or small town 96% identify as conservatives 83% very likely to vote 13% rank GW as one of the most important issues WA CONSTITEUNCY OPPORTUNITIES UNGREENS

10 Tap Duty National Pride Liberal Communitarianism Altruism Avoid Excessive Taxation Apocalypse Humans superior to animals 20% of adults, 24% of voters 81% Caucasian 47% between years of age 32% between years of age 55% live in a rural location or small town 22% rank GW as one of the most important issues WA CONSTITEUNCY OPPORTUNITIES TRADITIONALISTS

11 WHATCOM, SKAGIT and ISLAND COUNTIES

12 Local Success Stories Skagit Beat the Heat – The Low Carbon Diet Skagit Climate Stewards

13 RECOMMENDATIONS  Don’t lead with an environmental frame unless your audience prioritizes it.  Tie responsibility and self-interest together.  Tap core American values such as Can Do, American Leadership, Smartness, Practicality

14 KEEP IN MIND -  Make the connections between energy, the economy, and the environment obvious.  Illustrate the benefits of energy efficiency through specific examples.  Emphasize energy efficient technologies are ready to be used and taken to scale now.

15 BE SURE TO -  Take advantage of behavior change basics – Tension/Efficacy/Benefits  Outline the roles for business, government and individuals.  Start with behavior changes that are easy and move to more demanding over time.  Reward leaders publically for their accomplishments.

16 AND REMEMBER TO -  Link energy efficiency to renewable energy and other clean sources.  Do not oversell energy efficiency as being inexpensive and easy.

17 Contact CARA PIKE To download the guide:


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