Dynamist Blog

It's the Aesthetics, Stupid

The WaPost's Blaine Harden reports on wifely resistance to compact fluorescent bulbs. The article includes this classic example of technocratic obtuseness:

"There is still a big hurdle in convincing Americans that lighting-purchase decisions make a big difference in individual electricity bills and collectively for the environment," said Wendy Reed, director of the federal government's Energy Star campaign, which labels products that save energy and has been working with retailers to market CFL bulbs.

No, that is not the big hurdle. The big hurdle is convincing Americans that ugly lighting is worth the savings--as Ms. Reed herself knows.

"I have heard time and again that a husband goes out and puts the bulb into the house, thinking he is doing a good thing," Reed said. "Then, the CFL bulb is changed back out by the women. It seems that women are much more concerned with how things look. We are the nesters."

If you want to get people to use compact fluorescents, convince them that the lighting looks good--they already know it saves electricity. And show, don't tell.

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