BPA, utilities tap Starbucks employees and Facebook for energy efficiency
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Bonneville Power Administration is working with Northwest utilities on a pilot project to test how best to change energy consumption habits.
All the energy efficient light bulbs in the world won't get utilities where they need to be when it comes to meeting an ever-increasing demand for electricity. A new pilot project will challenge Starbucks baristas to use less energy than their counterparts across town and use Facebook to help power customers cut back.
Research shows that getting electricity customers engaged and empowered to make changes in their behavior delivers a better result and the Bonneville Power Administration and a group of Northwest public utilities are launching a pilot project to test that theory.
BPA has committed up to $300,000 to fund behavior-based energy efficiency pilot programs with Snohomish County Public Utility District, Cowlitz Public Utility District and Clark Public Utilities. The three were selected after a competitive process conducted by BPA.
The project will aim to prompt changes in individual and organizational behavior and decision-making by providing real-time energy use data available and highlighting opportunities for savings.
BPA officials say that waste management, health care and transportation industries have been applying behavior-based approaches for years, while utilities and others in the energy industry have only recently began using them as a means for encouraging energy savings.
"Science helps us to understand behavior change. So we’re excited to learn what strategies and tactics will motivate consumers and organizations to change their energy use habits," said Summer Goodwin, BPA behavior-based energy efficiency program lead, in a press release.
Snohomish County PUD will work with PECI, Lucid, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks to gather energy-use data and publish the information to a Web portal. Starbucks employees will compete in store-to-store competitions to determine who can save the most energy.
If you are commenting using a Facebook account, your profile information may be displayed with your comment depending on your privacy settings. By leaving the 'Post to Facebook' box selected, your comment will be published to your Facebook profile in addition to the space below.