The researchers recommended a raft of environmental measures for the participants. These included replacing incandescent with compact fluorescent bulbs, activating energy saving settings on computers, installing ceiling fans, and reducing air-conditioning use. They also suggested several popular heating energy reduction measures including improving the air tightness of the home, insulating foundations, walls and hot water tanks.
Vehicle emissions were reduced by lower vehicle use and using ethanol blended gasoline, while water was saved by replacing toilets with low-water models, installing kitchen faucet aerators, reducing sprinkler use and installing rain barrels. All households were already recycling and 90% composting before the study began.
The team found that of the thirty or so environmental measures that they recommended, only thirteen were implemented by one in five or more of the households.
The follow-up survey of participants indicated that their priorities regarding home upgrades were in improving comfort and lowering operating costs rather than reducing environmental impact. "The major obstacles to reducing environmental impact were seen as financial cost and lack of time and knowledge to evaluate and implement environmental measures," the team reported. However, for those measures where a payback was possible in less than ten years, households were more likely to implement the measures.
An additional socioeconomic factor that has been overlooked in other studies emerged from the present research. There were several common factors among the households with the highest environmental impact per occupant. These were higher floor area per occupant, than average, multiple vehicle ownership, greater mileage, and occupants being 40-something adults with no children living at home. "These lifestyle factors appeared to ha
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