Is Energy Efficiency Sexy?

green dress

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’tcatching on in the mainstream.  This discussion was appropriately timedon the day that the Senate killed the climate bill.  Although it was already on life support, its termination was stillsurprising for this optimist, since I am convinced a cap on carbon isthe best, most straightforward, way to incentive individuals andcompanies to turn around our economy.

Meanwhile, the panelists, from leading and emerging companies inenergy 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 gotme thinking, and elaborating, probably too much in my depressed state,on this attractiveness metaphor.  If energy efficiency is not perceivedas 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’venever 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 whenyou’re out on the weekend—let’s say the bar or the beach—you see thesame 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. EnergyEfficiency, and it’s pretty unlikely that we will dance any time soonwith Lady Wind or Senorita Solar.  To me, it is as simple as placing aprice on carbon – that’s really all it will take to force mainstreamAmerica to give these girls a chance.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the inherent beauty ofenergy efficiency won’t appear in the mainstream unless the public isprepared to see it.  The government was really close to opening thepublic’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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