Monday, October 26, 2009

Its waste - not savings

You've seen the banners: It's simple. Save energy, save money and the environment; Save yourself $350; Cost effective energy savings opportunities for industry.

Is it too good to miss an offer like this? Turns out we often do.

People generally try to avoid a future loss more than they try to achieve a future gain. This can occur even when the size of the financial loss or gain is similar. We know such an outcome occurs for finances and money and researchers David Hardisty and Elke Weber have just shown the same applies for environmental decision making.

In other words, if we are trying to encourage people to take action today - action that has long term benefits for themselves and the broader environment - we are likely to be far better off saying stop wasting $350 rather than the save yourself $350 message.

The UK Energy Saving Trust, despite it's name and proclaiming energy saving week rather than stop wasting money and energy this week, does have a bet both ways. Stop wasting energy and money is on it's home page. | Picture:

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