Recycle, get energy efficient light bulbs, turn unused electricals off at the switch, drive less, switch to a more energy efficient boiler, get cavity inhalation, have double glazing installed, invest in solar panels. We all know how to live and buy sustainably, so why do so few of us do it?
To give you the simple answer, psychologists think that there are two main reasons for this.
1st, sustainable behaviour just isn’t common enough to be seen as normal in the UK. Its the kind of thing other types of people do. And 2nd, energy use is pretty much invisible, sure it becomes visible on our gas bill, but we only see that 4 times a year. We can’t be expected to change our behaviour effectively when we don’t have feedback on it.
Thinking about solutions to this problem, I feel the ENLITEN project deserves a special mention here. Unlike traditional projects, ENLITEN brought together engineers and psychologists to create an app for phones and Ipads that gives you clear and easy to understand feedback about your energy use. What makes the project even cleverer, by also letting you compare your energy saving to your neighbours, the ENLITEN project has basically found a way to reinforce the idea that it is not just you being green.
So lets look to the future with optimism. With a little reshaping of our environment we might just start changing the way we use our energy for good.