Social Scientists Test Energy Efficiency Effects on Human Behavior

The Hot New Frontier of Energy Research Is Human Behavior

Wired, June 9, 2014

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.

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