Show Your Impact! How “Social Math” Can Help

We recently put solar panels on our house in sunny San Diego and are beginning to reap the benefits.  Here’s how the aptly named SUNPOWER Dashboard uses “social math” to show our positive environmental impact in a meaningful way.

Sunpower dashboard

You can see on the left that our solar panels generated 170 kilowatt hours so far this week. That number doesn’t have a lot of meaning to most people though. On the right, you can the environmental savings — the equivalent of 269 pounds of CO2 emissions avoided. Which sounds good but is still a bit abstract. Look again and under that number, you can see the social math. On the reduction side it equals 281 miles not driven. On the production side, that’s like the effect on CO2 of 3 trees growing for 10 years. These numbers have meaning and value!

And of course there is the financial savings from generating 170 kilowatt hours that we can see on our utility’s website (no social math needed there).

Don’t just give a technical description of the positive impact your product or service will have for customers.  It likely will not resonate with them. Make sure that when you convey your impact, you bring it to life with meaningful examples that your customers understand, relate to, and value.