Solar Sister’s energy rank rises dramatically

My sister and her husband’s solar system was recently connected to the grid.  Their text message and embedded image nicely summarize what they think of their system:

Sister neighbor efficiency rank

              “Here is a great shot of our home energy report.  Thank you solar!”

An astronomical rise relative to their neighbors, from near the bottom to near the top.

When I received this image, I was reminded of a TED talk by Alex Laskey.  Laskey found that people are more highly motivated to save energy if they know how much energy they use relative to their neighbors.  Using human behavior to motivate energy conservation is a simple yet powerful idea.

And now that I see my Sister’s report, I wonder what motivated her and her husband to go solar:  the fact some of their neighbors also installed solar systems, my happiness with solar power, being able to make serious money by selling SRECs, or was it being ranked 98th out of 100 back in February???


2 thoughts on “Solar Sister’s energy rank rises dramatically

  1. I believe it’s time for yours truly to weigh in on this topic, since I am the afore mentioned, “Solar Sister”. You are correct, our ranking of 98 out of 100 was pretty hilarious in a not-so-funny kind of way. We would get the electric bills and wonder what on earth we were doing to cause such a poor rating. Then, we’d wonder how our neighbors could possibly be using less electricity than us? I, of course, blamed my work-from-home husband. I figured the moment I left for work, he’d race over and adjust the thermostat, throw every light on in the house, fire up multiple computers, and bake all day using our double ovens. However, since the temperature always felt the same as when I left and there were never any baked goods awaiting my arrival, I could only deduce that wasn’t the case. So, in part, the neighbor comparison may have sparked our desire to dig a bit more into the solar idea.

    Of course, having you as a solar cheerleader didn’t hurt either! We knew you were a huge solar advocate and you shook your giant yellow sunbeam pom poms at us more than a few times. You had a positive experience with solar and you led by example. We were able to see how solar worked for you and it beckoned us to want to follow. So, in part, you were a motivating force.

    And, then there is the color that symbolizes solar power! Some may argue it’s yellow. However, I’d say it’s more green. While “Going Green” made us feel like we were doing something great for the environment and that was truly meaningful to us, “Getting Green” didn’t hurt either. When we learned of the SREC market in our state, that sort of sealed the deal for us. Getting cash back ten months of the year just for having solar was a no brainer. I figured even Mother Earth likes a new pair of Birkenstocks every once in awhile too. So, was “Going Green” more important the “Getting Green” or vise versa…does it even matter? We’re pleased with our current 4 out of a 100 ranking. However, don’t you know it, I’m already left wondering who are the 4 crazy neighbors who use less energy and how can we move to the #1 spot?

    • Now I know all of the things that motivated you.

      And, given that you want to be #1, I can see that the energy ranking really does work. My guess is that you’ll be ranked higher in some months. It all depends on the season and how much power those other neighbors happen to be using relative to you.

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