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Beth Savan, Dept. of Geography

Research area:

Energy efficiency, demand side

Specialty focus areas:

Energy conservation behaviour change, barriers and persistence; Accelerating behaviour change using human factors and psychology based protocols


Several pilot projects are testing our ability to change individual behaviour and community norms relating to energy conservation, using a combination of modified community based social marketing, feedback, technological change and systems re-design. On campus sites include student residences, where electricity conservation on user mediated circuits has approximated 13%, libraries, where embedded energy in paper and printer energy consumption have been dramatically reduced, and campus offices, where user mediated circuits have recorded approximately 5% electricity conservation following our pilot tests. Other pilot studies in campus labs using competitions and spot checks resulted in dramatic reduction of unused variable air volume fume hood sash height. This research has been funded by the Ontario Centres of Excellence, the Ontario Power Authority, the Ivey Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure. ...... The most recent study, funded by SSHRC, and carried out in collaboration with Greg Jamieson and Ingrid Stefanovic, is developing a framework to combine antecedent triggers including images of nature and community based social marketing using pledges, prompts, and other mechanisms with consequent triggers like feedback. The integrated framework will ultimately be tested to determine whether it can achieve accelerated behaviour change. This project is also developing an ethical toolkit to guide behaviour change researchers and program developers.

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