I was wondering the other day if saving energy might be, you know, contagious. And yes, that's an awfully dorky thing to think. But I found myself wondering that because I really was being a bit of a dork.

You see, before I started working at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, I never thought about saving energy. It wasn't that I didn't care, mind you, I just didn't know what to do. I turned off my lights, sure, and tried not to keep the house too warm. But that's all I knew, so that's all I did.

Then I started working here, and it all changed.

I discovered this the other day, when one of my friends bought a house. It was an exciting (and stressful) time for him, and the moment that he announced that he was done, that the house was his and he was moving in, I happily turned around and bombarded him with links to Energy Savers [1].

There was a time in my life where I wouldn't have done this. But there I was: he was curious about how he could save money on his pricy new purchase, so I sent him over to our financial opportunities for Consumers [2] page on the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Web site. The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Energy [3] is one of my favorites, since it has a ton of information on loan, rebate, and grant programs in every single state. So I specifically pointed that site out.

And hey, while he probably wasn't really looking for renewable energy on his brand-new (to him) house, maybe he needed to insulate a bit or upgrade the roofing to something more energy efficient—there were tax credits [4] for that!

And he might have needed to replace some old appliances—I didn't know, actually, but I was so deep in the thrall of throwing links around that I didn't care—so I sent him to the Rebates for ENERGY STAR Appliances [5] page, so he could find out what major appliances were eligible for incentives.

And finally, I just sent him over to Energy Savers [1] and this very blog, and told him to just browse about and see if he saw anything else that looked interesting.

All in all, I probably rambled at him for about an hour. And how, I wondered, did I go from someone who thought "Gee, I guess I'll turn off the lights when I leave the room!" to brutally assaulting my friends with information about where to find grants, loans, or information about how to weatherize your windows?

Maybe, I thought, because saving energy is just a wee little bit contagious?

Elizabeth Spencer is a communicator at DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which assists EERE in providing technical content for many of its Web sites.