I’ve read about this today (Channel 4 News, which is, by the way, my new favourite TV news website) and now I’ve accidentally just watched an 8 minute TED talk on the same thing.
Getting people to save energy is like trying to walk up a perfectly smooth, icy hill, in wellies. (For those who haven’t experienced this, I can recommend it for sheer frustration factor). Most people know me as someone who is a bit more ‘right on’ than is comfortable, but I can hold my hands up and say that I’m just as bad (if not worse, head-in-the-sand-ostrich-girl) with regards to saving energy.
But here, behavioural scientists have figured out that social pressure is a more effective means of getting people to change their behaviour with regards to energy waste (and presumably a lot of other hard-to-change issues) than by telling them they will save money, explaining that they will save the environment, or anything else.
All the scientists did was tell the people that their neighbours were saving energy, and how.
I’ve embedded the TED talk so that you don’t have to go find it. Enjoy it and then go ahead and turn something off.