Thursday, September 9, 2010

October is Energy Awareness Month: An Opportunity for Sustainability Leaders

In the U.S., sustainability and energy leaders should consider employee awareness activities for October Energy Awareness Month. Started in 1991 by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Awareness Month promotes energy awareness and energy savings. Increasingly, corporations, institutions, and governmental agencies are participating by having their own, internal programs.

A fall energy awareness program benefits sustainability and energy teams alike and complements a company's spring Earth Day activities. It highlights the fact that energy and carbon are flip sides of the same coin and reinforces the "we walk the talk" message from senior management. Most importantly, energy awareness promotes energy reduction which in turn saves money.

Setting up and running a program need not be difficult. The DOE provides free resources and the EPA through Energy Star also has useful, free tools.

Effective programs emphasize energy savings at home, not just at work. Home energy audits (often subsidized now by local utilities) are very effective at pinpointing home savings through improved lighting, better HVAC and simple home improvements, which increase energy awareness of employees.

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