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Thread: SMECO Home Energy Report - Liberals vs Conservatives

  1. #1
    the poor dad TPD's Avatar
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    SMECO Home Energy Report - Liberals vs Conservatives

    Turns out that home energy report SMECO sends to us actually causes us to cut energy usage by 2%. But it is more effective with liberals than it is with conservatives.

    http://wapo.st/1A0awZP

    Sometimes, sharing this knowledge triggered an unexpected twist: Residents told they were using more energy than peers used#less, but those who were using less energy actually increased it – a response dubbed a “boomerang effect” by the authors.#When smiley faces were included in the messages, however, that stopped. Instead, homes using more energy than average – earning#a frown – reduced their use, while homes using less than average – receiving a smiley face – just kept on#saving.
    The result? Not only did the study find that the home energy report was “two to four times more effective” for liberals than for conservatives at reducing their energy use. It also found that conservatives were “more likely than liberals to opt out of receiving the home electricity report and to report disliking the report.”
    In other words, conservatives may be a tougher sell — and different methods might be needed to help them save energy.#“What works in California may not work in Lubbock, Texas,” the authors wrote.
    But the story isn’t over: In a#subsequent analysis,#Opower found different results in a sample of over 100,000 Midwestern customers. Conservatives used more energy overall – by 3 percent – but actually saved a sliver more after receiving home energy reports for 2.5 years. Proceeding to look at other regions of the country, Opower found that only in the Mountain West did liberals cut their energy use significantly more than conservatives after receiving the report.

  2. #2
    Very interesting! I hadn't seen this. Thanks for posting!

  3. #3
    the poor dad TPD's Avatar
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    Another interesting piece in the article-

    In a March 2009 broadcast, conservative show host Rush Limbaugh told a story that (like many of his) would make a liberal’s#jaw drop. He had been watching Larry King the night before, he said, where he heard Alanis Morissette and Edward Norton tell#people to turn their lights off for an hour as part of a worldwide “Earth Hour” event.
    So Limbaugh proceeded to do the opposite. “I wanted to make sure I could use as much damn power as I could,” he said. “I turned the thermostats down to 70 degrees, 68 degrees. I turned on every light in the#house! I turned on every light in the back yard and aimed ‘em down so they wouldn’t hit the turtles! I mean, I had my house#lit up like a Christmas tree last night.”
    The conservation message, for Limbaugh, had backfired. It didn’t make him want to save energy. It made him want to consume,#and thumb his nose at environmentalists.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TPD View Post
    Turns out that home energy report SMECO sends to us actually causes us to cut energy usage by 2%. But it is more effective with liberals than it is with conservatives.

    http://wapo.st/1A0awZP
    How does SMECO know who is liberal and who is Conservative. I don't remember them ever having asked.

  5. #5
    Board Mommy vraiblonde's Avatar
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    My guess is that conservatives are more interested in saving money than waging war with Mother Nature and her whimsical climate.
    "Too much agreement kills a chat."
    ~Eldridge Cleaver

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Hijinx View Post
    How does SMECO know who is liberal and who is Conservative. I don't remember them ever having asked.
    Surveys.

    I know I wasn't called.
    "Never let the old man in." - Clint Eastwood quoting an old friend

  7. #7
    The annoying part is 1) everyone I talk to says their notice tells them they use more energy than everyone else and 2) I don't need SMECO to remind me where I stand against my neighbors in energy usage. I'm going to use what I use based on what I feel I need. My electric bill is my gauge.
    "Never let the old man in." - Clint Eastwood quoting an old friend

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Hijinx View Post
    How does SMECO know who is liberal and who is Conservative. I don't remember them ever having asked.
    Quote Originally Posted by PsyOps View Post
    Surveys.

    I know I wasn't called.
    The study didn't relate to SMECO in particular, it was done in California.

    I think the OP's point is that those kinds of reports - the same kind that we get from SMECO - have this kind of effect, and tend to have differing effects depending on one being liberal or conservative. I'd guess the study asked whether someone was conservative or liberal, or asked questions from which they could draw reasonable conclusions on that front.
    Nearly all success in electoral politics boils down to convincing people that you recognize that they are not the problem, that someone or something else is.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by PsyOps View Post
    The annoying part is 1) everyone I talk to says their notice tells them they use more energy than everyone else and 2) I don't need SMECO to remind me where I stand against my neighbors in energy usage. I'm going to use what I use based on what I feel I need. My electric bill is my gauge.
    Mine always tells me I use less than my neighbors. When my roommates moved out, that made a big difference - before that I was sometimes above my neighbors, but for the most part in the same ballpark.

    Getting my Nest thermostat a couple of years ago made a big difference for me as well. I've found that I have a far better intuitive sense of when I'm wasting money now, so I don't waste nearly as much. And beyond the general sense that it gives me, it saves me energy and thus money by automatically adjusting settings when I'm away for significant periods of time or inactive for long periods (which typically means I'm asleep).

    I'd add that, aside from regulating thermal conditions, I tend to be fairly wasteful - e.g., I leave lights and TVs and computers and such on. But those things don't matter nearly as much as the thermal manipulation stuff, so I still end up with relatively low electricity bills.
    Last edited by Tilted; 02-22-2015 at 12:57 PM.
    Nearly all success in electoral politics boils down to convincing people that you recognize that they are not the problem, that someone or something else is.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tilted View Post
    Mine always tells me I use less than my neighbors.
    Liberal!
    "Never let the old man in." - Clint Eastwood quoting an old friend

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