First a disclaimer, I am a Michigan State fan by marriage, not by birth, so I am a late-in-life convert to Team Spartan.  At my first tailgate in Lansing Michigan earlier this year, I was amazed at the fervor.  The day before the game, someone had decided that this game was a “white out”, and all Spartan fans rushed to find a white “State” or “Sparty” shirt.  It was an overwhelming display of team loyalty.

Watching this, I wondered if energy efficiency would ever rate the enthusiasm and self-branding as a sports team – or even other clean technologies?  While this may seem foolish or a pipe dream, identifying with a cause and having a way of proudly displaying your support is how momentum and community are built.

So far, the green/clean movement has a few standout icons, but no memorable, galvanizing, and instantly identifiable image with singular meaning.  The Prius is synonymous with the environmentally conscious driver.  The panda is the World Wildlife Fund’s beloved image for all endangered species.  The triangle of arrows is well known as the recycling logo.  And the USGB Council has the tree symbol.  But none of these generates the enthusiasm, identification, and rabid loyalty that a college or professional sports team does, and I think that is a shame.

Energy efficiency needs broad, mainstream support and I think that some branding (maybe a logo) that people can embrace could be incredibly effective.  But what should it be?  I’m not sure.  I am emphatically sure that it should absolutely not be the CFL pigtail light bulb.  That is already used widely to connote energy efficiency and yet when people see it, they instantly think of unacceptable compromises.  (The light takes too long to warm up.  They are supposed to last a long time and many customers have had bad experiences with shorter-than-advertised lifetimes.  And more.)  Perhaps a project?

We can do better and absolutely have to.  Spartans, what is your profession?

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