New energy report uses neighbourly competition to cut consumption

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Nova Scotia Power

If you knew you were using 43 per cent more energy than your neighbours, would it motivate you to cut your consumption?

That’s the aim of a new report led by Efficiency Nova Scotia, a non-profit organization dedicated to using energy better.

The Home Energy Report will compare Nova Scotian’s home energy usage to 100 neighbours in the area which people live. The pilot report will arrive in the mail to 90,000 people starting next week.

Hugh Fraser, who delivered a presentation Monday to reporters, said he’s “pumped.”

“Behaviour is the cheapest thing to change, but it’s also the hardest thing to change,” he said.

The bi-monthly report, created by American company Opower, uses a mix of positive peer pressure and neighbourly competition to encourage energy users to adopt more efficient behaviour. The report uses colourful graphs to illustrate a home’s energy usage to homes of similar age, size and heating habits. It also shows how consumption changes over time, and gives tips to reduce consumption, from turning off the lights to conducting a home energy assessment.

But don’t worry – the report won’t release names, addresses or how much other homes spend on power bills.

Donald Dodge, a program manager at Efficiency Nova Scotia, told reporters his first Home Energy Report was horrifying.

“To see my report that I did badly compared to 100 of my neighbours was an eye-opener and an opportunity to do better,” he said.

Dodge said the peer pressure factor motivated him to discuss his Home Energy Report with his family.

“When I looked at it I was quite shocked, I thought I would’ve been at least the median,” he said.

The Home Energy Report pilot is set to last three years, with an annual cost of $1.5 million. The province is contributing $500,000 to the project, with $1 million coming from electricity bills.


Clark Jang - Metro Halifax

Organizations: Efficiency Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Geoff Allison
    May 04, 2013 - 06:45

    This is a great idea! It's nice to see cutting edge technology come to Nova Scotia. Energy efficiency is so important and NS seems to be doing it right.