skip to main content


Title: What goes on behind closed doors? How college dormitory residents change to save energy during a competition-based energy reduction intervention

Here, the aim of our study 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 (DR) events. We also investigated changes in individual-level pro-environmental behaviors and examined psycho-social correlates of behavior change. Residents of 39 suites in a freshman residence hall competed against one another to reduce energy consumption and win prizes as part of a 3-week competition. Feedback was provided in near real time at the suite-level via an interactive touch-screen kiosk. Participants also completed baseline and followup surveys. Findings have indicated that electricity use among all suites was approximately 6.4% 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. 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. Our findings provide evidence that real-time feedback, combined with incentives, information, and prompts, can motivate on-campusmore » residents to reduce energy consumption. We contribute to a limited body of evidence supporting the effectiveness of dorm energy competitions in motivating college students to save energy. In addition, we identified individual-level behavioral and psycho-social changes made during such an intervention. University residential life planners may also use the results of this research to inform student programming.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ; ;
  1. Univ. of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1467-6370
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 17; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 1467-6370
Emerald Group Publishing
Research Org:
City of Los Angeles, CA (United States). Dept. of Water and Power
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; Sutdents; Feedback; Energy Conservation; Energy Consumption; Competitions; Residential Programming
OSTI Identifier: