Promoting Conservation Behavior in Shared Spaces: The Role of Energy Monitors

Journal of Environmental Systems 01/1990; 19(3):1-1. DOI: 10.2190/2N3T-WH89-B6WW-KVLH


Public university buildings are fascinating if somewhat complicated behavior settings. Designed and managed for a broad range of users, these buildings present a challenge to those trying to promote energy conservation. This is even more so when the goal is not a technology-based approach but conservation through direct involvement. This article discusses one type of participation - the use of energy monitors to promote campus sustainability. Volunteer staff members were given responsibility for monitoring lighting energy usage in the public and shared spaces near their offices. They were encouraged to promote energy conservation by shutting off unneeded lights and by informally discussing their activities with other building users. This relatively simple and direct approach proved effective in reducing energy waste.

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Available from: Raymond K De Young, Dec 30, 2013
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    • "For instance, Staats et al. (2004) found that when people worked with neighbors to discuss ways to reduce their energy consumption and trash generation, they were successful in achieving these goals. Likewise, De Young (1989-1990) found that when university staff members were given responsibility for monitoring their buildings' energy usage and promoting energy conservation (on a voluntary basis), energy use in their building areas declined substantially. Also, in a study of small-scale sustainability initiatives, Irvine and Kaplan (2001) found that individuals were willing to change their unsustainable behaviors if community members asked them to do so and explained the rationale. "
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