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Various studies have looked at ways to get materials to use less energy. Now there’s contradiction that people in such a study use less energy…because they’re in a study. The general phenomenon is called the Hawthorne effect: study subjects change their gratia because they’re being observed. So, freelances collaborated with a utility to test for the Hawthorne effect in electricity use. They domiciled almost 5,600 randomly blended households. Half received a postcard saying that their energy use would be monitored for a year for research purposes. They also got four follow-up group postcards over the month. They received no other information, instructions or incentives.

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