Published on September 18th, 2009 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg1
Save on Electricity… and Get Rewarded
Do you remember RecycleBank, the Philadelphia-based company that rewarded customers for recycling? I thought that was a great idea, and I’ve got a similar response to Earth Aid‘s new rewards program for energy savings. Rolled out earlier this month in Washington, DC, Earth Aid offers a program to track your energy use and savings, and then to “pay” you for those savings through reward points that can be redeemed at partner companies.
In its press release for the launch of the rewards program, the company claims that its program “…creates a virtuous circle of local businesses providing incentives for households to save energy, and households re-circulating their savings on their utility bills into local businesses – benefiting both the local environment and the local economy.” All of this is on top of money actually saved by consumers cutting their energy use…
I’ve been using the program for several months now, and its been a great way to track energy use: each month, I get a statement showing me how my energy use compares to that same month the previous year (and, yep, we’re saving so far!). So far, the rewards program is only available in DC, but as the whole program is based on the concept of “rewards for savings,” I’d expect to see reward partners established in other cities soon.
How Does Earth Aid “Pay” Consumers to Save on Electricity (and other utilities)?
As I noted in my earlier post for SUNfiltered, Earth Aid bundles the energy savings from participants and sells them on the carbon market. When I talked to CEO Ben Bixby about the concept back in April, he noted that the company’s rewards will likely only be a part of the payback consumers receive from cutting energy usage: in addition to lower utility bills, consumers who make energy efficiency upgrades to their home may also be eligible for tax incentives. The Earth Aid system itself ups the ante a bit, but may be more important in the long term for providing an initial incentive for individuals and families to start exploring reduced energy use… and the many benefits it creates for both the planet and the pocketbook.
So, what do you think? A good way to get people focusing on their home energy use, and how to reduce it? I know I’ve been stoked to see our savings…
Image: DC Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray at the Earth Aid Rewards Launch