A new survey of Americans shows that many Americans believe saving energy can be done using relatively useless methods.
The survey, which asked Americans in 34 states what they believed was the most effective way to save energy, found that many Americans have a very limited understanding of what they can do and what their actions are doing.
“When people think of themselves, they may tend to think of what they can do that is cheap and easy at the moment,” said lead author Shahzeen Attari, a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the university’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions. On a broader scale, she said, even after years of research, scientists, government, industry and environmental groups may have “failed to communicate” what they know about the potential of investments in technology; instead, they have funded recycling drives and encouraged actions like turning off lights.
The largest group, nearly 20 percent, cited turning off lights as the best approach—an action that affects energy budgets relatively little. Very few cited buying decisions that experts say would cut U.S. energy consumption dramatically, such as more efficient cars (cited by only 2.8 percent), more efficient appliances (cited by 3.2 percent) or weatherizing homes (cited by 2.1 percent). Previous researchers have concluded that households could reduce their energy consumption some 30 percent by making such choices—all without waiting for new technologies, making big economic sacrifices or losing their sense of well-being.
Interesting and not very uplifting news here. Hopefully, we can do better at communicating where the biggest savings can be made. Read more via The Earth Institute.
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