Monday, November 16, 2009

Project Energy Code: The Green Gap

All things being equal, given the choice between clean renewable energy or dirty polluting energy, nearly everyone would choose clean power. However, things are not always equal. Even in cases where renewables are available, some people that claim they would prefer renewable energy, for various reasons, still do not make green choices. This is called the “green gap”, when individuals claim to have concern for the environment; however, their actual decisions and behaviors do not display these stated values.

In short, talk is cheap. Why don't people put their money where they say their principles are? The "Project Energy Code" report seeks to understand the green gap. Why does this green gap exist? What data could help align actions with stated values? How can consumers be empowered? The report explore these issues and looks at two factors in depth:
  1. Technological change. New infrastructure technologies that increase transparency, consumer awareness of electricity consumption, and enable adoption of such innovations.
  2. Individual cognitive characteristics. How individual behaviors affect economic decision-making, particularly regarding risk aversion, status quo bias, and the use of heuristics to make choices in a complex information-overload environment.

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