The Hot New Frontier of Energy Research is Human Behaviour

July 16, 2014 at 10:24 am Leave a comment

by Brandon Keim, June, Wired

Illustration: Getty

When it comes to discussions about energy and climate, the focus is nearly always on technology. We wonder whether coal can be cleaned and solar panels made efficient, if there might be a breakthrough in algae biofuels or carbon storage. In short, we think about about hardware.

But a traditionally overlooked area of energy innovation is experiencing a boom in research attention: human nature. Engineers and power companies are now drawing on lessons from the social sciences, trying to understand the behaviors that shape energy use and how people can be persuaded to use less energy in the first place.

The potential savings are enormous. According to a recent report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, an energy industry think tank, the U.S. could cut energy consumption by one-quarter without hurting its economy. Another analysis pegged the potential household savings offered by such simple measures as carpooling and window-sealing at 7 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions, an amount roughly equivalent to the year emissions of France. Read more HERE>>

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Entry filed under: Carbon_Emissions, Climate, Energy.

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