What motivates households to save energy? Is it the monetary savings or a desire to decrease pollution and its associated health impacts? A study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests it may be the latter.
The study monitored energy use in 118 homes over an eight month period. Some homes were sent reminder messages that included information about the environmental and public health impacts of pollution. Messages included information about pounds of pollutants emitted and links between pollution and diseases such as childhood asthma and cancer. Those who received these messages saved 8% more energy than the study’s control group, and researchers found the messaging particularly effective in families with children.