Reward Yourself For Efficiency This Winter

It’s starting to get cold out, and in the sustainability blogosphere that means it’s time for the traditional posts about home energy efficiency.  We’ve all seen the top 10 lists of Best Ways To Save Energy at Home, or the Seven Must Read Tips To Improve Your Fuel Efficiency.  There are so many great ideas — but wait, didn’t I mean to do that last year?

You’d think that if these suggestions really were so simple and effective (and they usually are) then we would have already finished doing it and would be saving money. But why don’t we ever seem to get around to doing these things?

Rather than list out different ways to reduce waste or save on energy costs this winter, I want to talk about helping turn good intentions into actions.

When we don’t do something that we meant to do – like call your mom on her birthday – we feel guilty about it. While guilt might sometimes work as motivation it usually doesn’t. Still have those leaves in the gutter?

Instead I’d suggest focusing on creating a reward system that motivates action, like changing a light bulb or caulking a window.  Instant gratification is the best way to go, too. If you have a small reward in mind, then you’ll still want to fix that leaky faucet a day later because that glass of wine or ice cream cone is still waiting.

This week, why don’t you create some positive, immediate rewards for encourage those efficiency steps we keep talking about?  It’s really easy:

  1. Think of some simple rewards you can treat yourself with (I’d suggest a glass of Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay)
  2. Pick two or three energy efficiency actions you would like to take and match them up with a reward. You can look at our previous blog posts about small changes, light bulbs, and reducing waste.
  3. Take some action and treat yourself.

We used this same strategy here at Kendall-Jackson.  During our employee energy efficiency workshops last summer we offered a deal to the winery staff.  If 2/3 of the employees bought an energy efficient light bulb then the sustainability team would buy everyone lunch.  Food is an excellent immediate reward.  It worked.  One group even managed 100% participation in  just five days.

So go ahead, pick some rewards, set some goals, and check off some of those great efficiency ideas.  We would love to hear what goals you reached (and of course, what was your reward?)