Behavior Change
Energy Upgrade California Aims to Promote Energy-, Water-Saving Behaviors

California recently launched Energy Upgrade California, a statewide education campaign to help Californians manage their energy usage, save money and help the state meet its climate goals. Energy Upgrade California will engage people to better manage energy and water through a multi-cultural advertising campaign, a comprehensive website, retail education, community-based outreach and education, and social media.

"Across the state, we are asking all Californians to learn more about how they manage their energy and water usage, which are important resources upon which our lives depend," said Michael R. Peevey, president of the California Public Utilities Commission. "Reduced water supply and warm weather challenge the aging infrastructure that undergirds our economy and quality of life, while advances in real-time energy data access and smart grid, solar, battery and electric-vehicle technologies bring new opportunities. Increasingly, Californians must make choices to use energy and water wisely and invest in keeping our great state golden. We want to help them understand these choices for their own benefit for all our communities."

The campaign will make it easier for households and small business owners to learn about California's energy- and climate-related policies, find ways to manage their energy use, explore renewable energy options, find energy-efficient products and services, etc. Its website details steps such as using advanced smart strips to stop standby power, replacing inefficient light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs, and installing smart thermostats and home energy monitors.

"Recently, we were called upon by the Governor to reduce, conserve and work together to effectively manage our precious water and electricity resources," said Commissioner Catherine J. K. Sandoval of the California Public Utilities Commission. "We all can play a part with actions big and small, such as upgrading to LED bulbs, installing low-flow showerheads, getting solar electricity or water heating, or buying the most efficient Energy Star appliances. What may seem like little things can add up to make a difference – when all Californians take action."

"California already has one of the more energy-efficient economies in the world, and we have proven time and again that when asked and given the tools, we can conserve and protect our important natural resources, but we are at a critical time with just five and half years to meet our state's energy and carbon pollution reduction goals," said Robert B. Weisenmiller, Chair of the California Energy Commission. "This summer it is especially important for us each to play our part with major power plants like the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station no longer operating, expected hot weather and reduced snowpack."

The drought in California has also prompted companies such as Google, eBay and Adobe to step up and innovate to reduce water consumption through the use of everything from urinal cakes and waterless urinals to hydrozoning, and using recycled water to irrigate landscaping and to cool data centers.

Michigan has taken a similar approach to educating and motivating its residents to save energy - Michigan Saves has joined forces with Shelton Group, Michigan-based Dow Chemical and two Michigan utilities on the Avoid Energy Drama campaign, aimed at helping Michigan residents and small businesses become more energy-efficient.


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