When it comes to saving energy, it’s really not all about the money

A recent psychological study has provided suggestive evidence that when people decide to take steps to use less energy at home, and so to protect the environment, they don’t merely do so because they want to save a little bit of cash on their electricity bills. If anything, it suggests, some forms of materialistic or competitive thinking may inhibit deep or long-lasting conservation attitudes.

The study, recently published in Energy Policy and led by Zeynep Gurguc of Imperial College Business School in London, was able to show this by studying a pretty perfect test population: postgraduate students in West London, who did not have to pay anything for their energy use in their student residence halls — and, indeed, many of whom were young enough that they had no experience with energy bills at all. Therefore, any change to their at-home energy use behavior could hardly be chalked up to a desire to save a little money.

Read the full story. (Washington Post)