Quantcast

Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff - Sierra Daily
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Contact Us

March April 2014

Read the latest issue of Sierra

« How Can I Care About Something I Can't See? | Main | Microbes Ate My Oil Spill »

Sierra Daily

Aug 20, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff

OK, maybe it's Sierra's fault for not explaining things well enough. Or maybe it's the public's fault for not reading Sierra more carefully! But a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that the public remains very unclear on the usefulness of various energy-saving measures. In the study's survey of 505 participants, people overestimated the value of measures that didn't cost anything (turning off lights when leaving a room, driving less) while underestimating the value of measures that actually save a huge amount of energy, like improving home insulation. Energy-use-1


 In general, the authors reported, people seemed stuck on "curtailment"--simply doing less of something--rather than increasing efficiency, where the big savings are to be found. In fact, the savings to be wrung out of driving less, or in a more fuel-efficient vehicle, are dwarfed by those to be found from new efficiencies in buildings and industry.


 Another alarming finding: "Participants who engaged more in energy-conserving behaviors had less accurate perceptions of energy use and savings, possibly reflecting unrealistic optimism about the effectiveness of their personal energy-saving strategies compared with alternative ones." Ouch!

--Paul Rauber

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top