I’ve never been someone who loses sleep over “keeping up with the Joneses”… or “The Greens”, for that matter! I’ve made that perfectly clear when I admitted that I have gnarly trees in my yard (that I refuse to cut down) and how my lawn is not nearly as pristine as the one next door since we’ve stopped chemically fertilizing and weed killing and refuse to clear our backyard of trees so the lawn can be greener!
But what if you WERE compared to your neighbors? What if your utility company said you “weren’t being as green as your neighbors”? What if you got a letter, with a frowning face, that said you were being wasteful? GASP! Who me?
As crazy as that sounds, it’s actually happening. Utility companies in some cities, including Sacramento, CA, and Austin, MN, are sending homeowners assessments of their energy consumption that compare them to neighbors with like-sized homes and energy supplies. If you rank lower than average, you get a “smiley face”… if not, a big “frowny face!” And amazingly, it’s working. They are actually seeing a reduction in energy use by those who receive a dreaded negative rating!
I really think I would go nuts if I found out my “tree chopping” neighbor consumed less energy than me. Sure there are a lot of factors to consider, but still!… it lends itself to the whole psychology of being compared to someone else, and that just might light a bigger “green” fire under me! I would consider it a huge challenge to keep up with the “smiley face” neighbors!
So where do you think you would rate? Would you want to know?