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ERIC Number: EJ1107033
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-6370
What Goes on behind Closed Doors? How College Dormitory Residents Change to Save Energy during a Competition-Based Energy Reduction Intervention
Sintov, Nicole; Dux, Ellen; Tran, Agassi; Orosz, Michael
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, v17 n4 p451-470 2016
Purpose: The purpose of this paper was to evaluate the impact of a competition-based intervention combining high-resolution electricity feedback, incentives, information and prompts on college dormitory residents' energy consumption and participation in demand response events. The authors also investigated changes in individual-level pro-environmental behaviors and examined psychosocial correlates of behavior change. Design/methodology/approach: Residents of 39 suites in a freshman residence hall competed against one another to reduce energy consumption and win prizes as part of a three-week competition. Feedback was provided in near real-time at the suite-level via an interactive touch-screen kiosk. Participants also completed baseline and follow-up surveys. Findings: Electricity use among all suites was approximately 6.4 percent lower during the competition period compared to baseline, a significant reduction. Additionally, participants reported engaging in various pro-environmental behaviors significantly more frequently during the competition relative to baseline. Changes in pro-environmental behavior were associated with changes in level of group identification and perceived social norms. Practical implications: In three weeks, dormitory residents saved 3,158 kWh of electricity compared to baseline--the equivalent of more than 3,470 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions. The findings provide evidence that real-time feedback, combined with incentives, information and prompts, can motivate on-campus residents to reduce energy consumption. Originality/value: The authors contribute to a limited body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of dorm energy competitions in motivating college students to save energy. In addition, the authors identified individual-level behavioral and psychosocial changes made during such an intervention. University residential life planners may also use the results of this research to inform student programming.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: US Department of Energy
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Grant or Contract Numbers: DEOE0000192