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Public perception of energy consumption and savings

Attari, SZ, DeKay, ML, Davidson, CI and Bruine de Bruin, W (2010) Public perception of energy consumption and savings. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, 107 (37). 16054 - 16059 . ISSN 1091-6490

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Abstract

In a national online survey, 505 participants reported their perceptions of energy consumption and savings for a variety of household, transportation, and recycling activities. When asked for the most effective strategy they could implement to conserve energy, most participants mentioned curtailment (e.g., turning off lights, driving less) rather than efficiency improvements (e.g., installing more efficient light bulbs and appliances), in contrast to experts’ recommendations. For a sample of 15 activities, participants underestimated energy use and savings by a factor of 2.8 on average, with small overestimates for low-energy activities and large underestimates for high-energy activities. Additional estimation and ranking tasks also yielded relatively flat functions for perceived energy use and savings. Across several tasks, participants with higher numeracy scores and stronger proenvironmental attitudes had more accurate perceptions. The serious deficiencies highlighted by these results suggest that well-designed efforts to improve the public's understanding of energy use and savings could pay large dividends.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Leeds
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Business (Leeds)
Depositing User: Symplectic Publications
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2012 09:03
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2014 03:38
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1001509107
Status: Published
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
Identification Number: 10.1073/pnas.1001509107
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/74518

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