By: Dayle E. Zatlin
Every year, hundreds of thousands of families come to the Great New York State Fair. Drawn by the glow of fast rides on the midway, tempting food treats around each corner, and the excitement of blue ribbon contests, people just know they’re guaranteed a memorable time.
As in years past, 2012 was marked by famous stars like Justin Bieber, Aerosmith, and Journey, who took turns each night lighting up the grand stand. In the packed exhibit hall of Building 5, however, a group of new stars also captured considerable attention. These were the newest members of Team ENERGY STAR, a diverse group of adults and children brought together by a commitment to join the fight against climate change.
For many fair goers, taking the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR Pledge and/or signing their families up for Team ENERGY STAR was just the first step in understanding how they can adapt their behavior to make a significant impact on our environment. The second step is to learn the simple measures they can do each day to recycle, reuse, and reduce the amount of energy they consume.
To help jump start this process, the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) partnered with the EPA to offer an educational booth that leveraged the programs and expertise of both agencies. At the core of this collaboration was the goal to make it easy for people to take the ENERGY STAR pledge and get started on their energy-saving journey. Visitors to the booth took the pledge onsite, committing to making simple changes to make their homes more energy efficient. By taking the pledge these participants will receive quarterly emailed updates from ENERGY STAR, helping them along as they work to protect the climate. NYSERDA will also keep in touch with these pledge takers, sharing specifics on the energy efficiency programs and incentives available to those living in New York. We know from experience that regular communication helps to keep behavior change top of mind, and that visible reminders aid both awareness and action.
Because lighting accounts for 12% of the energy use in a home, and it’s one of the easiest places to make a change, the booth also highlighted lighting options. For consumers, picking out bulbs at the store can be confusing. To help people select the most appropriate product for their needs, NYSERDA launched an educational campaign called Bulbology at the fair. Bulbology provides a useful guide that explains all things relative to lighting: the new packaging labels, the transition from watts to lumens, the different color ranges you can choose from, and available product features—from instant on, dimmable, and three-way style bulbs to those that come with sensors. Visitors to the booth received their very own Bulbology pocket guide. But, you can get the same information and more lighting tips online here.
As a result of the synergy between NYSERDA and the EPA, we were able to bring the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR campaign to a significant number of New Yorkers. In fact, 285 individuals took the pledge and walked away with just a few of the tools that will help them get started saving energy. It’s our hope that they’ll share this wonderful experience after the fair with friends, family and colleagues to help get even more people to take the ENERGY STAR Pledge across New York. It’s this type of momentum that will encourage the focus and collective effort needed to protect our climate, today and well into the future.
If you’d like to join the nearly three million people who have taken the Change the World, Start with ENERGY STAR pledge, click here.
Dayle Zatlin is Assistant Director of Communications at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Prior to joining NYSERDA, she was a senior executive focusing on strategic communications, media relations and crisis communications for nearly 20 years at an Albany, N.Y.-based public relations agency.
NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce their reliance on fossil fuels.