I think about energy a lot, and I'm always looking to get other people to think more consciously about energy and the ways they use it. I frequently send links to my friends and family to interesting websites and stories about people tackling our energy issues at home and at work. I also can't help but spread the word on Facebook and Twitter about what people are doing across the country to get smart about saving energy.
Some of my favorite reminders of the rapid strides we are taking toward a clean energy future are the daily stories we feature on our Energy Empowers clean energy blog, and yesterday, we launched our brand new redesigned Energy Empowers Web site. As you may know, this engaging resource delivers stories about everyday people across the country pitching in to help each other save energy, advance innovative clean energy technologies or get to work building a more energy efficient and sustainable energy economy.
The Energy Empowers redesign is great. I love the sleek new look and flashy rotating feature box. Not only is it better organized from the home page on down, it's also easier to navigate, easier to read, and more user-friendly than before. For example, you can instantly jump to a list of stories on any major energy subject or quickly search for stories from a specific state or geographic location using the map feature.
It's also easier than ever to share these inspiring stories with your friends, family or colleagues using the "share" button beside each blog entry. From the battery manufacturer that plans to hire 80 workers in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, to the more than 10,000 low-income households in Ohio that now save money on their electricity bills, people are swapping stories of real progress in reaching our energy goals. Speaking of sharing, we encourage you to tell your own story about how the clean energy economy has touched your life or someone's you know. Clicking on the "Share Your Story" button at the top of the page allows you submit a story idea to the Energy Empowers staff.
The conversation is buzzing about clean energy on your favorite social media sites right now. Energy Empowers is also on Facebook, where we feature the most recent articles and encourage you to comment on stories and share them widely.
On a personal note, when I was a kid growing up in the '80s, I was bombarded by messages about reducing energy use and recycling things like newspapers, cans, and bottles. The public service announcements, combined with my awareness of some of the environmental challenges we face as a planet, created a natural reward system for conserving energy and using energy more efficiently. I'd feel a little bit better when I turned off the lights or when I rode my bike to school—just because I knew I was doing the little things to save energy.
Today I see that I was never alone in this practice. Every day, more and more people are joining us as we work together to find smarter ways to use our energy resources. It has become a movement of energy awareness, and it's at the heart of our global push to build a better economy based on renewable energy generation and wise energy use.
Eric Barendsen is a communications specialist and Presidential Management Fellow with EERE's Technology Advancement and Outreach office in Washington, D.C.