Energy in Daily Activities: Muddling Toward Conservation

Deborah A. Simmons
Janet Frey Talbot
Rachel Kaplan

DOI: 10.2190/2VYE-WN89-PA9M-1NK7


A person's pattern of energy use is influenced by a variety of psychological factors; the individual's attitude is only one of these. By examining the energy use patterns of individuals who are known to support energy conservation these non-attitudinal factors should be especially evident. This article discusses the results of a questionnaire dealing with the degree to which a variety of energy-conserving activities have been adopted. The sample for this study consisted of people whose concern for energy conservation was known to be relatively high, and their responses indicate that many conservation opportunities are being ignored. The most popular activities are relatively convenient and effortless, and involve familiar kinds of behavior and materials. The least popular activities are the most inconvenient and unfamiliar, as well as those where the connection between the behavior and any potential energy savings is not directly apparent. The findings of this study suggest the importance of increasing familiarity with newly-developed technologies and materials, and the value of providing imagery about the connections between specific activities and their energy-conservation potential.

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