Monday 4 March 2013

Having just read ‘Made to Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath I have been pondering how to make energy efficiency a stickier idea. We all know that efficiency suffers from being very dull as well as being too technical a concept for the person in the street and that ‘improving its image’ is essential. The term efficiency itself is abstract and as I say in my new book (gratuitous plug – out in October published by Gower – details on their web site) causes confusion even amongst professionals. Chip and Dan, like all good management writers, come up with a check list based around a mnemonic (SUCCES):


  • Simple – find the core of any idea
  • Unexpected – grab people’s attention by surprising them
  • Concrete – make sure an idea can be grasped and remembered later
  • Credible – give an idea believability
  • Emotional – help people see the importance of an idea
  • Stories – empower people to use an idea through narrative.


So here is my first pass on making efficiency stickier.


Simple – efficiency is about eliminating energy waste.


Unexpected – despite all of our advanced technology we waste 89% of the total energy that we use.


Concrete – this one is harder as it should really be situation specific, something like:

  • ‘if we save 20% through improved efficiency (eliminating waste) we will add £x to your profit’
  • ‘if you save 20% of your energy use you will be able to buy that foreign holiday/new whatever it is you want’.
  • ‘if we save 20% of the country’s energy use we could save £20 billion a year, equivalent to the total cost of the war in Afghanistan from beginning to end’. (This one could be improved as £20 billion is still totally abstract and the Afghan war comparison is still hard to grasp).


Credible – this is all about who says it.


Emotional – it should be straight forward to find emotional stories about the effects of fuel poverty (unnecessary illness or death), the effects of going without electricity in a developing country, or the number of deaths a year caused by atmospheric pollution. To be really emotional, however, they should focus on individuals rather than macro numbers.


Stories – leaders tell stories rather than spout facts in order to inspire, lead and educate.


I am sure other people can do better so let’s hear any ideas about how to make the importance and imperative of improving energy efficiency a stickier idea.

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There are 2 comments on “How do we make energy efficiency stickier?”:

  • C. Alvin Scott Scott Hydrogen Innovation on May 9th, 2015 at 8:38 pm said:

    Simple; Stop burning Fossil Fuels = Stop CO2 emissions

    Unexpected; Off-Grid Houses with Onsite Low-voltage generation and hydrogen production

    Concrete; Cut 5 T(onnes) and other systems will STOP 5 to 6 Tonnes of CO2 per house
    per year

    Credible; Source of figures Joseph Rowntree Foundation Report, the average UK
    house effectively causes 8.98 Tonnes of CO2 of which 10% is allowed for
    a vehicle

    Emotional; Whilst being the lowest cost method and quickest from inception to fully
    operational of stopping CO2 emissions the effect will be to close down
    power stations and stop burning Fossil Fuels.
    At the same time there will be one payment for the consumer for electricity
    heating and vehicle fuel which will provide savings to Offset the higher cost
    of a H2 EV

    Stories; It is now a well understood fact that CO2 levels in the atmosphere and
    absorbed into the Oceans is at unprecedented levels for thousands of
    years. There is a need to take drastic action to begin to mitigate the problem
    by stopping the cause CO2 which is caused by burning fossil fuels.

    Taking houses Off-grid by developing and installing On-site Low=voltage
    generation and hydrogen production will actually place the UK in a position
    of leading the rest of the world.
    This will have an immediate effect and visible result, as power stations will
    be seen to close.

    An enlarged version will be installed in a motel allowing the hydrogen
    supply to become a Fill Point for H2 EVs with Home based fuel supply and
    being out of distance from home supply.

    Off grind with Onsite L voltage generation and hydrogen will also be a
    great boost to rural Africa as it will provide a community hydrogen supply. It
    is hoped that a Hydrogen Electric Agri combination EV will be
    manufactured on a small scale and perhaps passed to Africa to allow them
    to advance and expand their economy.

  • A century of blogs - a retrospective and some recurring themes. Part 1. | Only Eleven Percent on June 1st, 2015 at 10:26 am said:

    […] How do we make energy efficiency stickier?  […]

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