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Tania Arroyo

on 9 June 2014

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There is some people that fill the kettle up and boil water regardless the real amount of water they need, i.e. to make one-two cups of tea they fill the whole kettle up with water, so they end up boiling more water than required. It is intended through the proposed nudges to change this behaviour in order to make people boil only the amount of water required. Therefore,
the target behaviour is to encourage people to boil only the amount of water they really need.
For this experiment, I will test two nudges: the first one, active choice, makes people think how much water they really need by putting an information leaflet by the kettle, e.g. if you only want a cup of tea, through the leaflet you will realise you only need 250ml of water so you don’t need to fill the kettle up. This nudge activates a desired behaviour (externally imposed), is mindful, and encourages a desired behaviour (measure the desired amount of water), and it is also a persuasion technique.

The second nudge, loss aversion, is going to provide the user with the costs of boiling water (for the use of electricity). This way they will think if they want to pay what they really need (e.g. 1 cup), or want to waste the associated money of boiling 10 cups (if they fill the kettle up) even if they will only drink one. Hence, this nudge combines an economic incentive (loss aversion) and a persuasion technique.
Behaviour change desired
Image by Tom Mooring
Proposed Nudges
Use of kettles in the UK

Active Choice
Loss Aversion
Kettles usage:
Governments have focused on economic tools and policies to address Climate Change (CC) since the 70's and have more recently been looking at ways to change individuals' behaviour. As Jackson (2005) stated, behavioural change has quickly become the "holy grail" of sustainable development policy; now it is clear that this issue is a key element in the UK's National CC Programmes.
Habits that we undertake on a daily basis (even without noticing) are the first ones that we should change (e.g. turning off appliances, boiling only the required amount of water in the kettle). Though these habits are small actions that do not require too much effort, collectively, such behaviours can account for a significant amount of energy that is translating in CO2 emissions (Energy Saving Trust, 2010:7). Only in Scotland, if everyone undertook these behaviours, household emissions would be reduced by 3% saving up to £80 million per year (Ibid).
The efficient use of kettles is mentioned as part of the CC mitigation strategy both in Scottish reports (see HM Government, 2006; the Energy Saving Trust, 2010; and the Scottish Government Social Research, 2011) and internationally (see UNEP, 2008).
If every person in the UK used an energy efficient kettle, £170million of electricity would be saved each year.

An average family uses a kettle four times a day – or 1,500 times per year, which can be around £20 just for your kettle.
Only use the amount of water you need in the kettle. Fill the kettle with only the amount of water you need at the time.

Consider an energy efficient kettle, which will use less energy (20% less) than a standard kettle.
There are two main ways to save energy with your kettle:
* http://www.beat.org.uk/energy-efficiency/
Decision mapping
The path for boiling water through kettles is simple: the individual needs boiled water either for cooking or for drinking so they pour water into the kettle and turn it on. The identified bottleneck comes before pouring water in the kettle, since that is the moment when the individuals should think how much water do they need, and according to that, measure the water to be boiled.
Active choice nudge
- If I make people think how much water they need, it will be more likely for them to pour the approximate amount of water required.

Loss aversion nudge
- If I show people hos much are they paying/wasting for boiling extra water (not required), they will pour into the kettle just the required amount of water so they won't lose money.

Nudge interaction
- If there is a combination of both nudges the interaction will make more likely for people to choose the right option and boil just the required amount of water.
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