Educating for Behavior Changes in Energy Use

Grant # 04-05
Principal Investigator: Jack Yates
Organization: University of Northern Iowa
Technical Area: Energy Efficiency

Final report

This research project worked with college-aged students to facilitate their awareness of energy use/conservation issues and change their energy use behaviors in their residence hall. During Year Three, the project expanded into 6 of the 10 UNI residence halls and omitted the control group based on successful results for the previous two years. Project leaders and students refined strategies to engage students in developing their own awareness of their energy use and to include more education on environmental issues in activities from October 2006-April 2007.

Other strides forward included requests from two Residence Hall Senates to sponsor an Energy! Team; a replication/collaboration effort with the University of Iowa Facilities Management staff and students; and working toward institutionalization by successfully preparing two student coordinators to each facilitate and develop an Energy! Team in a residence hall.

Evaluation was conducted using a pre- and post survey. Overall, the project shows both a specific and a general affect on environmental sensitivity in hall residents. These results are statistically significant and now have been replicated in a third year with new students, new energy representatives and different residence halls. We can be confident that the result is reliable and the effect noteworthy given that total project contact time per student is quite small, and the total time-span of a few months for the project is short compared to a lifetime of potential energy consumption.

Information Transfer

An Energy Center small conference and demonstration matching grant to same researcher at UNI to transfer the UNI Energy! project to Wartburg College and Luther College, which led to the Wartburg-Luther Energy Challenge, a student-led initiative with support from faculty and staff at both schools.