Even when the weather’s hotting up, you can’t keep energy costs out of the news. The latest development is a study of 540 homes which found a smiley face can help people save energy. Confused? Let me fill you in.
It’s not actually as daft as it sounds. In the study by Sustainable Homes, the properties were split into three groups:
• The first group was given information on their energy use compared to other random homes.
• The second group was given information about energy use in similar homes.
• And the third and most interesting group was provided with feedback on their energy use in the form of smiley (or frowny) faces.
Smileys top the table
Lo and behold, the group of houses in the ‘smiley’ group achieved higher levels of savings on their energy bills than any other group.
The study found that information of any kind aided people in cutting their bills, but information in the form of happy or sad faces seemed to have the biggest impact. If 75% of UK households were able to achieve similar savings it would apparently be the equivalent of switching off a power station for six months.
It might seem overly simplistic, but maybe there’s something in this. It’s perfectly logical to assume that when presented with information about how similar households use energy, people might change their behaviour.
Simple energy bills
The key though is how the information is presented. We know that energy bills are often overly complex, cumbersome documents that don’t lend themselves to easily digestible information (notwithstanding recent improvements on that front). What’s wrong with a smiley face to tell you you’re doing well and a frowny face if you’re using more than you could?
Of course, the whole issue of using less energy and cutting the cost of your bill isn’t going to be solved at a stroke by initiatives like this. As our Fix the Big Six campaign has demonstrated, there’s plenty wrong with the energy market aside from the provision of information on bills, but doesn’t every little help?
What do you think? Would a 🙂 or 🙁 face on your bill help you cut your energy use?
Could a smiley face convince you to save energy?
No 🙁 (82%, 562 Votes)
Yes 🙂 (11%, 79 Votes)
Don't know 😐 (7%, 49 Votes)
Total Voters: 689