Kavazovic: Potential to motivate consumers is vast
Vice president, strategy and marketing, Opower, Arlington County
An excerpt from Washington Post Live’s recent Smart Energy conference.
We believe that spontaneous consumer demand hasn’t materialized for energy-efficiency products [because] consumers do not know how efficient or inefficient their home is. If you compare this to the auto industry, it’s dramatically different. Whether you’re driving a Prius or a Humvee, and you know exactly to a cent how much a gallon of gas costs and your mileage per gallon. If you look at the residential energy sector, in particular, people have absolutely no idea.
A study back in 2003 showed that door-hangers left on homeowners’ doors urging saving money or doing good for the environment or for the community through energy-use reduction did little. But [another] message, about what their neighbors were doing to reduce energy waste, led to a 6 percent drop in consumption. There’s need or desire by customers not to deviate from what is normal in their neighborhood. So I think there’s vast potential to motivate consumers to take action for reasons other than financial.