Monthly Archives: May 2012

Go. Green.

Green.

Word association.

Plants. Hippies. Pacifism. Snot. Mould.

Save.

Word association.

Scrimp. Poor. Cheapskate. Miserable. Goalkeepers. Jesus

Bruce Oreck gave a talk about the power of words and what they mean yesterday at WREF2012.

He excoriated our industry for our unceasing commitment to two fundamentally unattractive pictures. Nothing wrong with green as a colour (some of my best friends are green) but if you are trying to get your energy project financed and you go tell your bank you want money for a green power initiative, you create in their mind a picture of a bunch of filthy hippies. This makes them think you are a BAD investment.

The other word he hated was Save. So if you give someone two choices. One they can save $100, two they can earn an extra $100. Whichever way you cut it the impact on their life is exactly equal. People want to earn the extra $100 not bank the savings.

So where Bruce didn’t go so much was what terms we should be using. If saving is about as sexy as a weatherized house, what makes me think energy efficiency is any better…

Efficiency.

Word association.

Mechanical, automated, soulless

How can we sell the idea of not being so profligate with energy as we have been since we started burning extremely decayed animals and plants?

I think clean is a good replacement for green. Sustainable is a meaningless term that I don’t really like. It’s an ad agency word like Smart. Because it means nothing, it means everything. Anyone can use it. Do you want a sustainable world or an unsustainable world? Do you want your kids to be smart or do you want them to be dumb? How do you objectively¬†know¬†our world is sustainable? How do you objectively know your kids are smart?

I think on the production side, we can make a good go of telling the world that solar, wind, renewable power is clean energy, clean electricity, clean generation.

But on the other side it comes back to George Monbiot’s Riot for Austerity. How can you make people think that less is more? Hey, maybe that’s it – less is more. We need to start branding our efficiency programmes with that line.
Make the switch to clean energy.
Less is more (in your wallet).
Why are you still paying a hundred dollars a year with those crummy old lightbulbs that Edison would have recognised? Your neighbour has got LEDs now. They won’t change a bulb again in their life and they are paying ten bucks a year on their lighting. The spare $90 went on a family trip to the movies.

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