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The effect of behavioural interventions on energy conservation in naturally ventilated offices

Carmine Ornaghi, Enrico Costanza, Jacob Kittley-Davies, Leonidas Bourikas, Victoria Aragon and Patrick A.B. James

Energy Economics, 2018, vol. 74, issue C, 582-591

Abstract: This paper investigates the effects of behavioural interventions on energy conservation in naturally ventilated offices. Our aim is to inform building managers, environmental consultants, and social scientists on the effectiveness of low-cost, easy-to-implement interventions aimed at reducing energy waste and carbon emissions in a setting where individuals do not have direct financial gain and have low awareness of the environmental impact of their actions. The interventions consist of three types of emails with different information content aimed at encouraging recipients not to leave the windows of their office open overnight or during weekends. Our results show that these interventions are effective in promoting energy savings, as the percentage of windows left open by treated occupants is typically halved compared to a control group. We find that the impact of the treatment is stronger when we provide specific information about the energy waste of the building where the email recipients work or when we show them how their behaviour differs from that of their peers. Moreover, our results show that positive behavioural changes are still observed a few weeks after the interventions are terminated, thus suggesting that such interventions do not act only as temporary “cues” which are easily forgotten by recipients.

Keywords: Behavioural intervention; Window opening; Energy conservation; Carbon emission reduction; Naturally ventilated office (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q2 Q4 Q29 Q41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Energy Economics is currently edited by R. S. J. Tol, Beng Ang, Lance Bachmeier, Perry Sadorsky, Ugur Soytas and J. P. Weyant

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