Hotel guests can be gently persuaded to reduce the number of towels they use each day, psychology researchers at the University of Luxembourg have found. With fewer towels to wash, this reduces the waste of water, energy and detergent. This is good news for the environment and it cuts costs, so enabling hotels to reduce prices.
Two hotels in Swiss and Austrian ski resorts helped with an experiment in early 2013. Three different signs were placed separately in different bathrooms, all of which gently reminded guests of the environmental impact of towel use.
However, one of the signs added that: “75% of guests in this hotel reuse their towels” with another sign talking of: “75% of guests in this room” reusing. 132 guests participated in this field experiment. Signs were in German and English, so would have been understood by guests in these Alpine resorts.
“We found that guests cut their towel use significantly when told of the behaviour of previous guests in their room,” said the lead researcher Dr Gerhard Reese.
In the “room” scenario, guests used, on average, one towel per person per day. This compared with 1.6 towels per person per day for those told of behaviour in the hotel as a whole. This amounted to a 40% saving in the number of towels needing to be washed.
Subtle social pressure
These results are consistent with a handful of similar studies conducted in the USA. “Humans are social beings,” explained Dr Reese. “People want to be accepted into groups and so we act in ways that make us belong. Instinctively, we feel close to those who have used a hotel room before us, believing that they are similar to ourselves. Thus we are more likely to follow their behaviour.”
This research points to the possibility of finding other ways to persuade people to do the right thing using such subtle pressure.
Gerhard Reese , Kristina Loew & Georges Steffgen (2014) A Towel Less: Social Norms Enhance Pro-Environmental Behavior in Hotels, The Journal of Social Psychology, 154:2,97-100, DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2013.855623
Britta Schlüter | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
Joint research project on wastewater for reuse examines pond system in Namibia
19.12.2016 | Technische Universität Darmstadt
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences