Energy Master Plan and Conservation

Hearings are being held on the revised energy master plan, SRECS and the future of energy in New Jersey. As is the usual case in these hearings, it was reported that several groups had comments; opinions and suggestions with regard to their individual interests. I had the pleasure of speaking with several speakers after the event and I have to agree with one point in particular.

It is absolutely critical that any revisions to the master plan emphasize energy efficiency and conservation above all else. As has been said many times before, the most efficient energy is the energy that we do not use. Like road building, we simply cannot build our way out of the energy needs faced by this country.

Recently, I have been providing clients with energy conservation behavior training. The findings of these training programs have been enlightening.

Although very intelligent individuals, who would scream at energy waste at home, populate the buildings it is clear that when we leave home we check our energy knowledge at the door.

In many commercial buildings we can find the following BAD behaviors:

  • Lights left on 24 hours per day
  • Thermostats for air conditioning set at 64 degrees, 24 hours per day with no one in the room!
  • Copiers, computers and other office machines left on all the time
  • People using heaters in the cold rooms and fans next door
  • Windows open
  • Blinds open
  • Televisions left on
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.

Ok, you energy wonks will tell me that you already knew this was happening. You environmental wonks will tell me so what, what does this have to do with the master plan?

Well, the answer is simple. Before we engage in physical improvements to conservation, we need to foster sustainable behavior in the workplace.

All is not lost. In at least one building we found that through behavior changes, the managers were able to reduce energy costs by 33%. Talk about ROI!!!

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