Fraunhofer hosted the Climate, Mind & Behavior Program June gathering of the Garrison Institute's Boston Hub. We had about 25 people come out to their new facility at 5 Channel Center Street in the Innovation District. Fraunhofer performs a lot of research on buildings and building systems.
Kurt Roth, Fraunhofer's Director of Building Energy Systems Research Group, presented on the “moral licensing” effect of water conservation efforts on electricity use. In their study, an apartment complex where an outreach effort to reduce water was successful, unfortunately, electricity use increased.
Dallase Scott, Sustainability Programs Manager at GreenerU, showed us research they have done at a university to show that comprehensive outreach efforts do indeed help students embrace new behavior patterns. She described the opportunity in the first semester, to engage with students who are in the process of redefining themselves. The new habits, esp. around energy conservation, they can create then will last a lifetime.
The group discussed the science of behavior change and outreach and had a lot of good things to share with each other. Thank you to Fraunhofer for hosting us and to the Garrison Institute for providing refreshments.
The Climate, Mind & Behavior Boston Hub will continue: we are hosting our next program on September 25th – hold the date! We welcome suggestions of future presentations. We want to hear from researchers who can answer the following questions –
o What is the thesis statement?
o How did you test it?
o What were the outcomes?
§ What worked
§ What didn’t
o What are your disclaimers ?
o What would you have added/what is still missing?
o How would results from this study be integrated into the field?
Below: Local organizers: Kurt Roth, Bonnie Bentzin, Dallase Scott, Grey Lee and Ed Connelly
From Kurt Roth:
“For better or for worse? Empirical evidence of moral licensing in a behavioral energy conservation campaign”
Environmental campaigns focusing on target behaviors are rolled out to millions of households. Yet it is not clear if these programs lead to adoption of additional environment-friendly behaviors (positive spillover) or reduced engagement in other environmental domains. We conducted a controlled field study to determine if positive or unintended contrary side effects dominate by evaluating the impact of a water conservation campaign on electricity consumption. We use daily water and weekly electricity consumption data of 154 apartments in a multifamily residential building. The results show that residents who received weekly feedback on their water consumption lowered their water use, but increased their electricity consumption by 5.6% relative to the control group. Our findings are consistent with moral licensing behavior. In the future, we recommend taking a more comprehensive view in environmental program design/evaluation to attempt to mitigate such unintended effects.
From Dallase Scott:
“Knowing the Full Story: The Process for Effective Program Evaluation”
This presentation will provide participants with an overview of a year-long study that evaluated the effectiveness of a behavior campaign to reduce energy use in dorms. In this study four dorms at Brown University received dorm efficiency and control upgrades. Only students in two of the dorms received a targeted behavior campaign along with the new upgrades. Building energy use, window opening behaviors and awareness and attitudes were examined between the control and targeted dorms. During this presentation, we will review the process of 1-Choosing a short term objective to be examined. 2-Choosing an appropriate research design, given constraints and capacities. 3- Determining measurable indicators of success for project objectives. 4-Collecting and analyzing information to identify program impacts.