Health Benefit Education Inspires Energy Efficiency Improvements

Jan. 16, 2015

Pollution, health improvements more powerful motivators than cost savings.

While occupants use a large amount of electricity, building managers are constantly looking for ways to motivate them to use a little less over the course of the day. New research suggests that even when people are paying for the electricity themselves, knowing the health and environmental benefits of energy use reduction can be a stronger motivator than the cost savings associated with the behaviors.

A new study, Nonprice Incentives and Energy Conservation, examines the difference between showing participants messages about the environmental and public health benefits of electricity reduction, such as pounds of pollutants, childhood asthma, and cancer, vs. showing a different group messages about how much they could save on electricity by reducing energy use. Surprisingly, even though the cost savings would directly benefit the participants, the researchers found that reminding them of the social cost of electricity was more effective, with those participants reducing their use by 8%. The findings suggest that facility managers would be wise to focus their conservation efforts on communicating ways that conservation will benefit the public and the earth.

Looking for more ways to engage your occupants to save a little energy? Make sure your training practices are up to date!

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