Helping the Consumer Go Green

5 01 2011                                                                                  
                                                                                  Educating and informing:  Essential to Gaining Support on Energy Efficiency

What are ways to get consumers to go green without making it seem like the task is overwhelming and beyond their reach?  Beyond legislating and mandating that consumers through legislative mandate, the other goal should be one of education–namely what does it mean to go green and where can we start?  It turns out government and education can come together to help consumers go green by promoting home and weatherization projects that encourage energy efficiency which helps the environment and economy simultaneously.

The city of Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs are taking advantage of the Federal stimulus funds they were awarded for these home and business weatherization projects. To educate citizens about the home and business weatherization projects and what they entail for the average consumer, the city “invited two green evangelists from the Phillies-relief pitcher Rvan Madison and the team’s shamrock sidekick, the Phanatic.” Clearly, what the city has done is not only utilize its stimulus funds for energy efficiency by doing the weatherization projects, but also to show why they are doing it and what it entails by utilizing spokespeople who know how to get people interested and enthusiastic about things like energy efficiency.

As a result, to help the average consumer go green, it is important to educate and inform them as to why it matters and how they can benefit from doing so.  When local government officials seek to implement weatherization projects for homes and businesses in their localities, it may upon first glance, not be the most exciting, interesting, or even highly sought after thing to do.  In other words, there may be resistance simply because people do not know about the benefits of home or business weatherization and consequently they need some sort of motivation or rationale to change their energy and environmental practices.  The city of Philadelphia understood that to get their residents and business owners at least interested in going green, utilizing good marketing and advertising methods was key.  In their case, they utilized two good symbols:  The mascot for the Philadelphia Phillies and a ballplayer.  Such individuals are likely to communicate effectively to residents and business owners about why weatherization projects are essential and why they should get on board in support of them.

Thus, the average consumer may want to go green, but may not know how to or what is in it for them.  Therefore, government mandates alone cannot help the average consumer go green.  Rather, there needs to be a concerted effort to properly educate and inform the public about why it is important to go green like the Philadelphia Phillies are doing for the citizens of Philadelphia.  Hopefully, the new year ushers in a new era of environmental education, information, and promotion.




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