Biking to work, turning off your computer at night, flipping the light switch when you leave a room. These are all relatively easy things to do, with the exception perhaps of biking to work on a winter day in Wisconsin. But a decade ago when a task force convened by Wisconsin’s then-governor Jim Doyle set out to make the state a leader on sustainability and energy conservation, the experts noted that changing behaviors is much more easily said than done. “We have to think about how to change hearts and minds,” said long-time energy efficiency expert Kathy Kuntz. “How do we get people to adopt these things and make it the new normal?”
In response to a recommendation from the task force to focus on voluntary behavior-change, a nonprofit organization called Cool Choices was formed with funds from a settlement between the utility We Energies and citizen groups regarding We Energies’ Milwaukee-area coal plant.