Comparing the effectiveness of education and technology in reducing wood smoke pollution: A field experiment

Donald W. Hine, Navjot Bhullar, Anthony D.G. Marks, Patricia Kelly, John G. Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


This study describes a field experiment assessing the effectiveness of education and technological innovation in reducing air pollution generated by domestic wood heaters. Two-hundred and twenty four households from a small regional center in Australia were randomly assigned to one of four experimental conditions: (1) Education only - households received a wood smoke reduction education pack containing information about the negative health impacts of wood smoke pollution, and advice about wood heater operation and firewood management; (2) SmartBurn only - households received a SmartBurn canister designed to improve combustion and help wood fires burn more efficiently, (3) Education and SmartBurn, and (4) neither Education nor SmartBurn (control). Analysis of covariance, controlling for pre-intervention household wood smoke emissions, wood moisture content, and wood heater age, revealed that education and SmartBurn were both associated with significant reduction in wood smoke emissions during the post-intervention period. Follow-up mediation analyses indicated that education reduced emissions by improving wood heater operation practices, but not by increasing health risk perceptions. As predicted, SmartBurn exerted a direct effect on emission levels, unmediated by wood heater operation practices or health risk perceptions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-288
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


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