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Experts Discuss Hurdles to Adopting Smart Energy Usage

01 Jul 2011

The Smart Energy Panel held last week at the Freescale Technology Forum asked participants what they thought the biggest hurdle was to smart energy efficiency. Freescale’s senior vice president, Henri Richard, believes that energy efficiency can be improved by giving people the opportunity to help without having to expend a lot of time or effort.

Richard noted: “For instance, if your company has four printers scattered around the office, smarter software could tell you which of those printers is already warmed up, making it cheaper to print even if you have to walk another few feet to pick up your printout.”

Other panelists believed consumers needed to be nudged and coerced via incentives.

University of Texas professor Brewster MacCracken noted, “People won’t change their behavior for the long-term just to save the environment,” said “Accordingly, we have to find a way to convince them with savings or other financial incentives--we have to show them how to be more efficient in order to lower their bills.”

Christen Okonsky, founder and CEO of KLD Energy Technologies observed that the devices being manufactured need to be energy efficient in-and-of-themselves, not by virtue of some extra effort made by the people using them.

Okonsky said: “We need to create energy-saving devices that work out-of-the-box. Incentives and mandates are not going to do it alone—our devices have to create a positive emotional reaction to convince consumers to use them.”

Mike Rowand, Duke Energy’s director of advanced consumer technology, agreed, pointing out that utilities need to show people that their lives will be better if they are more energy efficient, not that they will save money or the planet.