Label your light bulbs for a green planet

Consumers are more willing to buy energy efficient light bulbs when the energy costs are clearly labelled, a new study has found.

Wändi Bruine de Bruin, Professor of Behavioural Decision-making at Leeds University Business School, was part of a team that explored how people choose light bulbs in order to understand the willingness of consumers to invest in energy efficient technologies. The study was undertaken collaboratively with Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S.

The team conducted experiments with consumers, using a mobile lab to meet people where they shopped. Customers were asked to choose between a selection of different light bulbs. By observing the choices that people made, the researchers could infer which aspects were most important to customers when buying a bulb.

Energy efficient bulbs are more expensive than alternative ones and this has historically deterred people from buying them. However, when an estimated annual energy cost was placed on the label, consumers were more likely to give energy efficient bulbs a chance.

According to Professor de Bruin, the study “highlights the importance of providing understandable of energy efficiency labels.”

The study showed that not all consumers acted in the same way. Whilst lower income earners were more concerned about saving money at the point of purchase, high-income consumers were more willing to invest in long-term energy savings.

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