These New Year’s resolutions won’t just make you happier — they’ll lower your electricity billThe Washington Post, December 31, 2014
If you go to a life coach or therapist seeking to improve your happiness and personal sense of well-being, you’re likely to hear some pretty familiar advice.
Sleep more. Spend more time with friends. Exercise more. Find a hobby. Volunteer. Give something back to the community.
Most of us have heard all of this before. But you might be surprised to learn that these “New Year’s Resolution” style life changes have a major additional benefit: Spend more time doing them, and you may also dramatically cut your energy use — and electricity bills.
That’s the upshot of new research by Joseph Kantenbacher, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California-Berkeley whose dissertation research was presented earlier this month at the annual Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change conference in Washington, D.C. The insight on the relationship between happiness-inducing activities and energy savings arose when Kantenbacher analyzed how people actually use their time when they’re not working — and then identified which of these non-work activities tend to use a lot of energy (per unit of time), and which activities tend to use very little.