I am assuming everyone must have seen one of many designs of energy saving poster, and I wonder, how many of us actually took action to reduce our environmental impact?
The poster below is just something that I found quickly from the Internet. It looks interesting isn’t? With lots of pictures and lots of information, but is the message strong enough?
For me, too much wording, and perhaps, it is very difficult to translate what benefit I will actually gain by taking a “green” action. Most of the energy saving posters fail to do their job because the message is not strong enough. Why, because most of us does not understand what benefit we will have by turing a light off, or wash our cloths at 30 degree. The reason that I say this is because by telling people how much CO2 you will produce lesser, or in kWh, it is very difficult to understand in “human” terms.
Therefore, my proposing improvement is to translate the message into something that is more clearly, and by looking at it, people will instantly understand the benefits of certain action.
The design that I have is a sticker that goes on the light switch, so people will see this message clearly when they are reaching for the switch. Just like below:
As most people do things depending on what the society says, so it is key to use social norm to nudge people to adopt certain behaviour, therefore the main message that we need to bring out is- saving energy is socially approved.
The reason that I use a thumb up picture because it is a symbol for good behaviour, it tells people that ‘well done for switching the light off’. This is known as injunctive norm, which refers to a perception of what is culturally approved. At the same time, it also represents the switching off action, and this will encourage people to take this action. Therefore you may want to include an image that will encourage people to take certain action.
The reason that I suggest using green colour because it has a message of ‘green initiative’, as most environmental campaign uses green colour, so the message will stand out more clearly.
Also, green has a cultural meaning of ‘go for it’, just like traffic lights, because we barely see any stop sign using green colour, so people automatically accept green colour as a representation of good behaviour.
Providing feedback is important to encourage good behaviour, as if your teacher did not grade your paper, you would be wondering about the quality of your work, and not sure about whether to continue or not.
Because turning a light off has no meaning to people, and no one can measure how good it is to the environment, even translate it into CO2 emission, it still means nothing, so the beneficial message should be translated into something that everyone can understand easily, and nominal value is a very clear message. As by looking at the design above, you will automatically know turning this light off is good for you, and by how much, which will generate a very strong incentive for people to take this action.
The £30 figure is estimated using UK Power website: http://www.ukpower.co.uk/tools/running_costs_electricity/
The reason that I encourage people to turn their light off for just one hour because to nudge people to adopt new behaviour, we need to start with some easy task, and one hour does not seem to be a lot, since it is pretty much the amount of time when we remember to switch our light off when we are not in the room.
I hope this post can help you understands how to improve designing an energy saving poster, if you think my design is useful, feel free to use it, I won’t sue you for copyright 😛