Architecture Magazine

Conspicuous Consumption: The “Prius Effect” for Solar Panels

By Lugray @talkitect
by Kevin Young
Conspicuous Consumption: The “Prius Effect” for Solar PanelsEconomists have a term relating to the purchase of sustainable technologies and environmentally sensitive vehicles. It’s called “conspicuous consumption.” Defining this in laymans terms, it means to display one’s wealth or worth to others through their material goods – think of royalty flaunting fine garments, or a banker driving a Ferrari. People invest in these things not because they are necessarily better in quality or more reliable, but rather for the purpose of displaying one’s wealth to others.
What does this have to do with environmental technologies? Well, through several recent studies, it has been revealed that amidst the recent concern for the environment and mitigating the effects of global climate change, consumers are more willing to invest in cars and technologies to showcase that they are being environmentally sensitive. Think of it as the “Prius Effect.” The Prius is the clearest example of this phenomenon – multiple studies have shown that there are other cars that are equal in sustainable benchmarks, such as the Toyota Camry Hybrid, but still the Prius claims approximately half of the hybrid car market. The Prius out sells all of the other cars for one primary reason – it looks like a hybrid car. 
Conspicuous Consumption: The “Prius Effect” for Solar PanelsSolar panels are an even more fascinating issue. Solar panels have been a large part of the California market, and a recent study was conducted in the San Diego area on the application and use of these solar panels. Two interesting things were discovered. One, large portions of California where sales of solar panels were high are not ideal for the use of solar panels. Furthermore, sunnier areas of California, in communities that are not as concerned about the environment have drastically fewer solar panels on residential rooftops. Second, there were several cases in which solar panels were actually placed on the wrong side of the house, not as a simple mistake but rather because homeowners wanted to display their solar panels to the street. It is fascinating that people care more about the image of being sustainable than making any lifestyle changes to actually be more environmentally conscious. 
On one hand, it’s very discouraging to know that a technology is being misused. Yet seen in another light, this has interesting implications moving forward. If the environmentally conscious consumer wishes to display their “green-ness,” what if there was a way to design and group appropriate technologies so that they are made more visible? What if sustainable technologies were integrated into the design and became completely revealed for all to see? What if we celebrated these technologies rather than trying to hide them within our traditional design language? This way, a homeowner could proudly show their latest sustainable gadgetry, and gain the maximum amount of benefit from it, both economically and environmentally. It would be fascinating to see how talented designers can come up with creative solutions that push this idea further.

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Big Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy in China

    Food Giants Manipulate Public Health Policy China

    Coca-Cola is at it again. As soda sales decline in the United States and Europe, beverage companies look to emerging economies like China for growth. And, it... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dietdoctor
  • Jewellery for a Precious You

    Jewellery Precious

    Jewellery is always close to a woman’s heart. It completes her look and boost confidence. Considering the changing trends in jewellery fashion, it becomes... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Dr.jenifer Sayyed
  • Rajshri Productions’ Next Is A Film On Friendship | Hum Chaar | Trailer

    Abhishek Dixit’s debut feature film Hum Chaar is a Bollywood film made under the banner of Rajshri’s film. Hum Chaar is written and directed by Abhishek Dixit. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
  • Saint Paul the First Hermit

    Saint Paul First Hermit

    Today is the feast day of Saint Paul the hermit. This is a sweet and delicate Oatmeal Bread topped with rolled oats and naturally sweetened with agave. Saint... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Veronica46
  • Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu | Teaser | Pranav Mohanlal | Arun Gopy

    Arun Gopy’s Irupathiyonnaam Noottaandu is an upcoming Malayalam action-drama feature film starring Pranav Mohanlal and Zaya David in the lead roles. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Themoviean
  • A Year Of Body Positivity

    Year Body Positivity

    Last January, as I sat there on New Years eve all set to make the same old resolutions I've made year after year for as long as I can remember, I realised how... Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Sparklesandstretchmarks
  • Garden Bloggers Bloom Day – Jan 2019

    Garden Bloggers Bloom 2019

    Euphorbia rigidaWhen I went out to take the photos for this blog post I was surprised at how much was in flower dotted around the garden. Read more

    The 15 January 2019 by   Patientgardener