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Too many excuses to not get smart with energy

published, Jan 27, 2009 2:11am
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Considering that the cheapest energy is that not used in the first place, we need to stop dodging the issue with excuses.


This article was written by Adam Shake who originally posted on his site - www.twilightearth.com, where the energy efficiency intentions were assessed from a survey of over 2000 North Americans.


It found the primary motivation to saving energy across a number of categories was the desire to “save money”, out ranking every other category from “improving the quality of their lives” “saving energy“, “helping to reduce global warming” or “its the moral thing to do.” Interesting huh?

created on: 01/27/09

Lets first, take a look at barriers to doing things that would save energy.

Insulating the Attic:
43% said “I can’t afford it”
20% said “I don’t know how”
10% said “It’s too much effort”
4% said “I could afford it, but don’t want to spend the money”
1% said “Someone else in my house would object”

Replacing Most or All Light Bulbs with Energy - Efficient Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs)
30% said “I don’t need new ones yet”
28% said “I don’t like them”
27% said “They are too expensive”
23% said “I can’t afford it”
13% said “I rent my home”
followed by “I could afford it, but don’t want to spend the money” and “Someone else in my home would object”. But I love the last two.
3% said “I’m too busy” and
3% said “It’s too much effort”

Barriers to Turning Off Unneeded Lights More Frequently
68% said “Already doing this as much as I can”
12% said “More comfortable with many lights on”
9% said “It’s too hard to remember”
8% said “It’s too inconvenient”
7% said “Don’t think it’s important”
6% said “Someone else in my home would object and
3% said “Too busy”

Lets take a look at What Motivates Americans to Save Energy:

Motivations for Turning Off the Lights
91% said “It sames me money”
86% said “It saves energy”
37% said “It helps reduce global warming”
36% said “It’s the moral thing to do”
34% said “It’s makes me feel good about myself”
13% said “Other people approve when I do it”
11% said ” People I care about are doing it” and
11% said “Someone asked me to”

Raising the thermostat in Summer, using public transportation and lowering the thermostat in winter reflect the results of the above poll result.

Do Americans think their efforts to save energy will help reduce Global Warming?

If you took personal measures to reduce your carbon footprint, how much do you think it would reduce your personal contribution to global warming?
16% said “Not at all”
36% said “A little”
36% said “Some” and
13% said “A lot”

If you were to change your lifestyle to reduce your personal contribution to global warming, how do you think it would affect your quality of life?
25% said “I don’t know”
3% said “decrease my quality of life a lot”
9% said “Decrease my quality of life a little”
32% said “Have no impact on my quality of life”
19% said “Improve my quality of life a little” and
12% said “Improve my quality of life a lot”



People are motivated to purchase products and / or change their behaviors based on three broad catagories of benefits: functional benefits (i.e., what the product or behavior will do for me), self-expressive benefits (i.e., what the product or behavior says about me), and self-evaluative benefits (i.e., how the product or behavior makes me feel about me).

The functional benefit of saving money is a nearly universal motivation for Americans who intend to take new energy saving action over the next year. Of course, this is an argument that can not easily be overcome, especially in times of economic hardship. But this study also indicates that many Americans incorrectly feel that by taking energy saving steps, that their quality of life will be reduced.

It is this thinking that we need to try to change. I firmly believe that when we take energy saving steps, our quality of life improves dramatically.
What do you think?

To see the full report, go to the Yale Project on Climate Change

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