Green Light Distrikt is about entrepreneurship focused on the cleantech sector. GLD U provides cleantech courses . Edited by Chris Williams with frequent guest posts from friends, experts and industry insiders from clusters across the globe. Our goal is to provide a place where cleantech entrepreneurs in various clusters across the globe can learn from one another. Green Light Distrikt is creating the "Hitchikers Guide to Clentech" to provide a resource for cleantech entrepreneurs. Read more
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July 30th, 2010
I was lucky enough to have a seat at the packed GLD Cleantech Kingpins event last week at the Nexus Green Building Center. It turned out to be a nice back-and-forth discussion about why energy efficiency isn’t catching on in the mainstream. This discussion was appropriately timed on the day that the Senate killed the climate bill. Although it was already on life support, its termination was still surprising for this optimist, since I am convinced a cap on carbon is the best, most straightforward, way to incentivize individuals and companies to turn around our economy.
Meanwhile, the panelists, from leading and emerging companies in energy efficiency, as well as a vocal crowd, pontificated on reasons why energy efficiency hasn’t caught on in the mainstream, and the consensus in the room was:
Energy efficiency isn’t sexy.
Too many people do not find energy efficiency attractive. This got me thinking, and elaborating, probably too much in my depressed state, on this attractiveness metaphor. If energy efficiency is not perceived as sexy normally then when is it perceived as sexy sometimes?
I was thinking about this on the bus ride home when I had my Aha! moment. Energy efficiency is like a girl you see on a bus who you’ve never considered sexy, because you’re on your way from work when you see her and you don’t want to talk to anyone, let alone to her. But when you’re out on the weekend—let’s say the bar or the beach—you see the same girl and you talk to her. Then BAM! This girl seems sexy to you.
The Senate just ruined America’s chances of scoring with Ms. Energy Efficiency, and it’s pretty unlikely that we will dance any time soon with Lady Wind or Senorita Solar. To me, it is as simple as placing a price on carbon – that’s really all it will take to force mainstream America to give these girls a chance.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the inherent beauty of energy efficiency won’t appear in the mainstream unless the public is prepared to see it. The government was really close to opening the public’s eye, but it couldn’t seal the deal.
What do you think? How long will America be stuck on the bus?
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