Parents Found More Motivated to Cut Energy Use

March 23, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. power /ˈpaʊ ər/ (n.) – refers to electricity supply
Example: The town had a power shortage for one week.

2. cost saving /kɔst ˈseɪ vɪŋs/ (n.) – amount of money saved by having lower cost or spending
Example: Environmentalists talked about the benefits of cost saving in electricity use. 

3. energy-efficient /ˈɛn ər dʒi ɪˈfɪʃ ənt/ (adj.) – using less electricity compared to others
Example: He bought an energy-efficient refrigerator.

4. resident /ˈrɛz ɪ dənt/ (n.) – a person living in a specific place
Example: We asked 20 residents from the village for the study.

5. drive /draɪv/ (v.) – to cause someone to be determined on doing something
Example: They researched on what drives people to perform better.


Read the text below.
A study in California shows that information about the health hazards of power use is more motivating, especially for parents, in cutting down consumption.

Environmentalists from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) tested whether information on health risks can motivate people more than information on cost savings. They found that the former proved to be more effective for people living with kids.

For nine months, the researchers monitored the electricity usage of 118 apartment units at the UCLA’s University Village–a dormitory for graduate students and their families. Each unit had the same size and contained the same appliances.

The participants were divided into two groups. The first group received emails about their most energy-efficient neighbor. The message noted that $4 to $6 could be saved by having the same power usage as their neighbor’s. The second group received messages about the equivalent air pollution their electricity consumption generated. The email also contained information on diseases linked to air pollution like childhood asthma and cancer. A third group that served as the control group did not receive any feedback.

Results show that residents in the first and second group consumed 8% less energy on average compared with the control group. But within the second group, those with children reduced their usage by 19% after receiving the monthly emails.

The authors explained that health issues drive people to reduce electricity use. Parents in particular put more effort in power reduction because of their children. On the other hand, the small savings in cutting energy use did not provide enough motivation.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         How would you describe your power usage: high, moderate, or low?
·         What steps can you take to help save energy?

Discussion B

·         What are the main sources of energy in your country?
·         How do you see the use of nuclear energy 20 years from now? 

March 23, 2015