By James Kim.
University of Hawai’i at Manoa graduate Kelli Miura works to foster public awareness of energy conservation techniques in hopes of reversing the trend that requires the state of Hawai’i to import 40 million barrels of oil per year to meet its energy needs. She spoke at the UH Manoa School of Communication on Sept. 15, 2010.
Miura is an employee at Hawai’i Energy, which she described as a “hub in the community on how to be more energy efficient.” It conducts advertisement campaigns, workshops, community events, and participates in fairs to raise public awareness for energy conservation. It was originally a part of the Hawai’i Electric utility company but is now a separate entity. It is publicly funded, however, through a “public benefits fee” that all businesses and residential energy users must pay as part of their energy bill.
Miura’s main responsibility is Hawai’i Energy’s recently launched website, which is a wealth of energy consumption statistics, conservation how-to’s, links to relevant websites, news articles, photos, and information about the organization’s programs and efforts. Most of her work revolves around updating the content of the website and monitoring its day-to-day operation.
Miura called “interactivity and user-friendliness” the major strengths of the website she manages. The content of the website can be adjusted to accommodate individualized views of energy consumption for different types of people. An average homeowner, for instance, can learn about energy conservation from his or her unique perspective relative to other types of people like business-owners or renters.
Miura said the website was progressing in a “good direction,” but would like to expand it further. One way she talked about was to make energy consumption data from the public utility company available on the Hawai’i Energy website. This would allow people to compare their energy consumption patterns with those of their neighbors or friends. Being able to compare one’s consumption with someone you know is argued to encourage people to conserve energy. A similar project undertaken in Virginia is said to have produced such a result according to a Wall Street Journal article.
Miura also stated she plans to integrate more video and blogging links to the website to continue to develop it as a forum for feedback, questions, and information regarding energy conservation in Hawai’i. She also works with social media to enhance Hawai’i Energy’s online presence and currently maintains accounts with Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Gowalla.
Regarding the future of energy conservation in Hawai’i, Miura said that “residents’ love for Hawaii” has already motivated many to become more energy efficient but hopes her efforts will “get everyone on the bandwagon,” and ultimately, “raise Hawaii’s profile within the national movement,” for energy conservation. For more information about energy conservation and its future in Hawai’i, go to the Hawai’i Energy website at www.hawaiienergy.com.
Miura went to UH Manoa as an undergraduate where she majored in Journalism and Sociology. She wrote a blog for the Honolulu Advertiser in the summer 2008 on student life in Hawaii and UH Manoa. She is excited to be working in a communication related field and is concurrently getting her MBA at Chaminade University.