Nudgespotting: Behavioral Light Switches

By Jamie Kimmel (ideas42)


Welcome to Nudgespotting! Every other Monday* we'll take a quick look at some real-world nudges, with a healthy dose of commentary and behavioral references.

This week we have our first theme: behaviorally-informed light switches.


Consequences of Leaving the Lights On

Spotted by reader  Samuli Seppälä

Spotted by reader Samuli Seppälä

The artist designed wall stickers to be placed around light switches, acting as reminders to turn off the lights. After spotting this nudge, we were able to get in contact with its designer, Hu2 Design (based in Paris, France), who has a couple more on their website:


Hu2 Design Light Switch Nudges

These suggest that leaving the lights on should irritate us much as a running faucet, and also remind us of what it takes to create electricity in the first place.


A Little Bit of Empathy?

Spotted by reader Michael Bailey

Spotted by reader Michael Bailey

One for the more mature audiences. Thanks, Michael!


Energy Costs Money, You Know...

Energy Star  sponsored nudge

Energy Star sponsored nudge

And another reminding us of the monetary costs of electricity use.


These nudges do a couple of things:

  • Act as reminders to turn off the lights
  • Make the consequences of leaving the lights on salient

However one thing to consider is the placement of these nudges. Are they located where they would remind someone at the right time? That is, are they visible when an individual is actually leaving a room? 

Overall we’d love to see testing of these types of nudges. While they may be attention grabbing, and could possibly interrupt poor light switch habits in the short term, do they actually cause new, more environmentally friendly habits to form over the long term?

Further, do nudges like these work well when the same people see them over and over (in a family’s home, for example)? Or do they work better in public spaces, where new people would be consistently exposed to them?

What do you all think?


Have you spotted a nudge in the wild? Feel free to send them our way by:
•    Emailing us at
•    Tweeting us at @MisbehavingBlog

We might feature you in an upcoming post!

*We’re updating the frequency to every other week, because we’d like to mostly feature nudges spotted by readers. And in order to fit these to themes, we’ll need a number of great examples!