Using behavioral science to speed the adoption of climate safe buildings
The Point At Which Change Occurs
First there’s one crack, then another, then suddenly it all gives way. One day the status quo looks solid, indomitable, irreversible. The next day it crumbles before our eyes.
Massive shifts in markets and society often seem to come without warning. But those thresholds at which change occurs were always there, waiting.
We’re using an established, evidence-based process to find those thresholds in order speed the adoption of climate safe, zero emission buildings.
With each program we focus on a specific decision maker (such as developers, lenders, home buyers, and renters) to make it easier for them to choose a zero emission building.
We’re making it easier for people to make good decisions when it comes to buildings. Because these decisions impact our lives in countless ways—and for many years into the future.
Change Requires Much More Than Facts
As one journalist writes, when talking about issues like climate change or zero energy buildings we often proceed “from the assumption that your audience lacks facts — that is, that they have a deficit — all you need to do is give them the facts, in clear and eloquent and dramatic enough terms, and you can make them feel like you want them to feel, how they ought to feel, how you feel.”
But this approach usually fails.
“That’s because it appeals to reason, and reason is not what drives human behavior. For more than 50 years, the cognitive sciences have amassed a mountainous body of insight into why we think and choose and act as we do. And what they have found is that facts alone are literally meaningless.”
We’ll say it again: change requires much more than facts.
An Established & Effective Process
We as a society examined what occurs when a person picks up a cigarette. We looked at the social costs (cancer, heart disease, children with asthma) and, when we decided these costs were too high, we found a way to respond to the issue: target the behavior.
We made important investments to support the work of behavioral scientists who then found ways to prevent people from picking up cigarettes in the first place. They found related behaviors—how people get introduced to smoking, when they get the urge to try it, which people model the behavior—and they developed programs that interrupted the cycle.
Erase40 is using the same process to speed the adoption of climate safe buildings.
A Rapid Switch To Zero Energy Buildings
Erase 40’s mission is to develop initiatives that result in the widespread adoption low emission, climate-safe buildings.
Switching to zero energy buildings may be one of the easiest, fastest and least costly ways to greatly reduce carbon emissions around the world.
Buildings are responsible for approximately 40% of all carbon emissions in the U.S. and globally, but a switch to this low carbon building technology can reduce this number drastically.
There are other benefits too.
Reduced exposure to air pollution. Lower their monthly energy and repair costs. Reduced asthma rates. Higher savings rates. Fewer children growing up in noisy and polluted environments. Reduced financial stress for low income populations.