Last month I got one and it I looked at my usage and then underneath it said "95". And I was like, "SWEET!!" because we bought triple pane glass windows and they're all energy efficient, and I replaced my heat and AC last year with more energy efficient version, and I've been slowly replacing the dumb old light bulbs with the fancy curly bulbs and so clearly this was all paying off, because look how efficient we were last month!
Only then I read the little narrative that went with it, and it said, "Out of 100 homes, you are using more power than 95 of them." So, to restate, there are only 5 houses out of 100 peers that used more than we did.
So the first thing I did was shut off all the heat and lights and power and huddled on the floor in the cold and dark and rocked back and forth because windows/ac/heat....THOUSANDS of dollars later only to still be in the 95th percentile for worst energy usage.
The second thing I did was say, "Bah! It's marketing. Here's the number they want me to call to learn about their new energy program. Right....cha-ching!" And I threw out the letter and turned the power back on.
A couple weeks later I was at work and some coworkers were talking about this same stupid scam statement and I asked what their "score" was.
I think the one guy said he was 8. Um. Hmm. So...he had the 8th best energy usage?? DAMMIT!!
A few days ago I walked through the house and was unsurprised to find that almost every light was on. I don't know why EVERY light in the house wasn't on, that was the only surprising part, but it was too many lights. I decided I needed to make a conscious effort to turn lights off when I leave a room.
I held an impromptu family meeting (we were watching The Voice) and said, "Okay, starting from here on out, when you leave a room, turn out your lights! Emma, if you leave the lights on in your room upstairs, we're going to send you back up to turn them off. And if you bust us, we have to turn them off too!" Emma hates having to go back upstairs, because it interferes with her "laying upside down on the couch playing with her itouch" plans, so I knew this would be very motivating.
Two days ago, with a sigh, I walked down the stairs to address Emma.
"Emma, I used to hate when my mother did this to me, but..."
"Oh no! What did I do?"
"You left the light on in your room. I need you to go upstairs and turn it off."
I could have turned it off. I obviously had been upstairs in order to observe it's un-turn-offedness...but I wanted her to "learn".
All of this was accompanied by a flashback to a memory I had of my mother standing in the kitchen of our house on North Avenue, Columbus, Montana, and saying to me, "Jim, you didn't turn the light off in your room." My room was just down the hall. I was eating breakfast at the counter.
"Can't you turn it off for me?"
"How are you ever going to learn if I do it for you?"
"I just forgot. It's not like I don't know HOW to do it. You're standing right there!"
"Fine, but this isn't teaching me how to turn off lights."
*sigh, ponderously climb to my feet, walk down the hall slowly and heavily, dramatically flick the switch off with a flourish, turn around, return to the kitchen sit down heavily, sigh, and shake head.*
I remember thinking how stupid the whole exercise was.
To Emma's credit, she was much more respectful. When she came back down, I thanked her, "Remember, Emma, if you catch US leaving lights on, let us know and we have to go back up and turn them off too!" I think that softened the blow of having to move.
Last night Emma sat down on the couch and said to me, "You guys left the light on in your bathroom."
"Did we? Hmm, I'll have to go turn that out." I walked up the stairs to find that the bathroom lights were indeed on. I shut them off and came back downstairs. "Thanks, Em."
See mom, I told you.