New York: Girl Scouts and their parents have reported an increase in energy-saving behaviours after the children participated in an intervention programme, revealed a study.
According to the study published in the journal 'Nature Energy', the researchers found that the increased energy-saving behaviour continued for more than seven months after the trial programme ended.
The study also suggested that these kinds of educational programmes could have a significant and lasting impact on familys' energy consumption.
They also found that the intervention had an effect on parents' energy-saving behaviour for more than eight months.
"Children are a critical audience for environmental programmes, because their current behaviour likely predicts future behaviour. By adopting energy-saving behaviours now and engaging family and community members in such efforts, children can play an important role in bringing about a more sustainable future," said Hilary Boudet, Assistant Professor, Oregon State University.
For the study, the researchers developed a programme called Girls Learning Environment and Energy (GLEE) which offered two interventions designed to promote energy-saving behaviours either at home or in food and transportation decisions.
Using a randomized control trial, the 318 participating girls, all fourth- and fifth-graders were randomly assigned to one of the programmes.
In 50 to 60-minute lessons once a week for five weeks, the Girl Scouts learned about different ways to save energy in their assigned intervention group and participated in activities designed to support the lessons.
The researchers estimated that the reported behaviour changes associated with the home energy savings intervention represent an annual household energy savings of approximately 3-5 per cent immediately following the intervention and 1-3 per cent at follow-up.
Girls participating in the food and transportation intervention also reported a significant increase in energy-saving behaviour at the end of the programme, but there was no significant change noted at the seven-month follow-up or among parents.