In a new study from Columbia University, Ohio State University and Carnegie Mellon University, 505 Craigslist participants were asked to estimate the most effective measures to improve energy efficiency.
Most of the responses were found to be similar to the way we generally think about saving money: Reducing use equals reducing cost. But in terms of energy efficiency, it's a little more complicated.
What's interesting about the participants is that those who consider themselves environmentally aware actually had the least accurate answers. Those participants seem to be more focused on reducing energy by reducing usage (or so they think) rather than taking measures to that actually improve efficiency like replacing appliances, insulating their homes and replacing light bulbs.
Does this mean that we are simply not doing our energy efficiency homework, or do we need to change our way of thinking altogether? Considering only 2.1% of the participants knew they could conserve energy by insulating their homes, and the top five behaviors were all related to lifestyle changes that have no real impact, it seems we need to do both.
If the 2.8% of respondents who said they could conserve energy by sleeping or relaxing more is any indication of the nation’s energy efficiency awareness, we might be on a slow track to change.