The impact on greenhouse gas emissions, as assessed by the Carbon Saver, is the most important measure of success of the CCF. Calculation of the amount of annual CO2 reduction is completed soon after the fair. Calculation of actual actions taken is recommended at 6 months after the fair, and again at one year.
In addition, qualitative surveys can provide valuable lessons about how to improve the fair as well as the teacher and student experience.
Some people will need help from vendors and neighborhood “coaches” to complete the actions that they pledged to do. Energy Saving Actions that require higher initial financial investments such as heat pumps and electric vehicles will require additional promotion and education to ensure that residents follow through with their commitments.
Massachusetts offers low and moderate income residents additional rebates on some energy saving actions, often making them free and thus financially prudent.
Whenever possible, institutionalize energy-saving action- build it into the way your town operates, and through policy.
Follow-up tasks are usually accomplished by the same group that was involved in organizing the fair and include a combination of vendors, volunteers, and paid staff. The staff may be from the town, from Mass Save, or from an independent organization.
For example, staff from Ener-G-Save, a non-profit in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley took responsibility for follow-up to the fairs in those communities.
It’s essential to tally the CO2 impact of the commitments made by those at the fair as soon as possible after your event. Then, about a year later, follow-up to see which actions have been completed, and what their impact is on CO2 emissions. Below is an example of the report from the Cooler Concord Fair, which showed that, as a group, attendees reduced their emissions in approximately the same amount as they pledged.
Collect qualitative data about your guests’ experience at the fair. You can do this easily by using Survey Monkey or another online tool.
“It would be interesting to survey the experience of the students as well, although we didn’t think to do that until afterwards.”
– School Liaison
Communicate fair highlights and commitments within a couple of weeks.
This includes thank you notes, follow-up email to those who attended the fair, and a report of carbon reduction commitments to schools and other stakeholders.
The fair in the Berkshires received especially great media coverage!
Support fair guests in following through with their actions.
- Adapt Email Newsletters and send out monthly or quarterly TIME SAVER
Folder of Reusable Email Newsletters
- Follow-up calls and emails from vendors
Coaching from Qualified Neighbors
Keep website and Facebook page up-to-date with fresh information, rebates, and recommended vendors. Adding stories or short videos featuring local residents completing actions helps strengthen the norm that saving energy is cool. Adding stories of children engaged in energy-saving actions at school also helps draw people back to the website.
Cooler Concord Facebook Page (posts after 2/4/17 are about Follow-up Events)
Energy-saving actions that require significant financial investment usually take longer to complete. Installing heat pumps and purchasing electric or hybrid vehicles fit in this category. Residents who pledged to make such conversions are more likely to follow through if financial incentives and additional educational opportunities, such as forums, are made available. The Heat Smart program provides a good model for these as does EV Drive.
Events focusing on seasonal actions also attract attendance. For example, an electric lawn mower event and a sustainable landscaping event.