We all know that energy efficiency is the fastest, cheapest, and cleanest way to tackle our energy dilemma and that the technology exists today to identify and realize these efficiencies. In a previous post I highlighted technologies that enable smart cities and the importance of everyone playing an integral part in moving society towards a future of energy prosperity. But even if all the best technology is implemented will the desired, positive behavioural change be sustained? Will the smart systems and technologies result in smarter users?
Humans have been adapting for thousands of years – we are actually quite capable of changing to adapt to our surrounding environments. The big thing is no one likes to be told to change which is why empowering people through education is so important. On-line, free, and flexible learning platforms, like Energy University by Schneider Electric, are important pieces of the education puzzle. To keep individual’s skills cutting edge they need to be able to access educational tools when it works with their schedules. The current economic conditions also showcase the importance of remote learning and the powerful convincing nature of ‘free’. And why not free? Education makes people more valuable to themselves and their communities, and in turn they become capable of doings things they didn’t know how to before. In the energy space this enlightenment can result in energy savings of up to 30% or more because educated individuals know how to identify waste to create savings – they know where to look and how to adapt their operations.
I’m a big proponent of learning (in case you haven’t noticed yet) and believe that everyone is always capable of learning more no matter what stage of life they’re at. It makes me extremely happy to see seasoned veterans of the energy space learning about Demand Response 2.0 and new-age occupancy & daylight sensors. On the same level, I get very energized seeing young professionals and students becoming actively involved to help evolve the energy system. A great example is the organization Student Energy and their International Student Energy Summits (ISES). This group has self-organized a reoccurring summit for students by students that attracts some of the most talented young individuals from around the globe, plus the organization is constantly developing ways to empower these individuals to make lasting change.
I’m a fan of the two platforms above, however there are many more educationally focused platforms out there, and more continue to become available as people realize the best investment is in individuals. Technology is great, but in the end it all comes down to people.