There is so much content to share and consume: tips and tricks, visualizing data, case studies of success, etc. As a recent start up, we value the information that is readily available and share what we can about our experiences. Last week I took a break from the fast pace of our current workload. I was invited to talk with a group of 4th grade students at Bluffsview Elementary about energy. The feedback I received was amazing.
First I thought, what could an energy nerd like me share with kids about how buildings operate? Would I be able to get on their level? How much would they really get from an energy nerd talking about his fun and exciting experiences walking through buildings, counting light bulbs, analyzing controls, etc? Having had the privilege of several mentors in my life who always took time to share their knowledge, skills, and life lessons, I have made a conscious effort to do so even when at times I feel too busy or that I may not have enough to contribute. These kids welcomed me to their class, were attentive, engaging, and have begun to develop opinions of their own.
In my days as a building engineer, it was commonplace to learn from peers and reciprocate when necessary. In doing so, I learned that it is easier to absorb the information than share it. Last week when I had to try to explain something that is sometimes complex to a less technical audience was a challenge, especially when the time period was short. So, in 45 minutes we talked about energy efficiency v. energy conservation - putting in different lights v. turning the lights off. We talked about the 4 T's of a good energy consultant - Turn it off, then Turn it up/ down, Tune it up and then Tear it out if no other solutions fit. We talked about some of the cool things I've seen here in Ohio - the largest manufacturer of swiss cheese, plastics companies, construction companies that renovate 100 year old buildings and make them modern and efficient. And, at the end we took the time to visualize energy use through an infrared camera.
So this morning when I came to my office and saw three giant cards of gratitude from them I realized that my immediate observations were true. They appreciated an energy nerd taking time to share his passion for energy efficiency and energy conservation.