If yesterday's Times' analysis bears out and most Americans come out of this recession saving more and spending less, then today's Times story about venture funds favoring energy efficiency deserves a serious read. The premise: startups can grow profitable by teaching people how to use their appliances more intelligently. The unstated corollary: the government should be the force nourishing the market for alternative energy. While we consumers learn how much we can control our carbon-burning habits, that is, we taxpayers should be investing in the power lines and computer code that make our energy menu greener and broader. In that spirit, I'm curious how the various sign-up programs around the country that let households choose renewable energy fare. If we're learning to take firmer care of what we already have, will that make it easier for the audacious or the affluent to help build a wiser energy system?