It pains me deeply that viagara spam often has a better success rate than energy conservation programs. Researchers have known for 30 years that the ways we motivate people to conserve energy often don’t work. But we keep at it the old way.
Here’s what we do. We carpet bomb people with facts about how much energy we waste and how much all that waste costs. Then we offer to pay them to behave better, to use energy efficiently.
Studies of the success of these programs show them to be hit or miss. Some programs are heavily used, some gather dust. Sometimes people permanently cut their energy use, alot. In others people still guzzle energy like there’s no tomorrow.
So I dug into the roots of the problem. Over the next little while I’m going to share what I found. It all starts, and stops, with how we think. We assume that people think rationally. We don’t.