Around the world there is strong interest in the use of energy feedback via smart metering technology as a mitigation option for businesses to reduce their energy use and mitigate greenhouse gases (GHGs). A number of relevant early studies have looked at energy feedback in an organizational setting. In order to bring about energy reductions, feedback provided needs to motivate changes in energy behaviours and practices within organisations. Social norms sometimes act as an extrinsic motivation for behaviours around particular energy services, particularly in a group setting. The majority of studies that have looked at social norms and energy related behaviours tend to only pick up on the role of injunctive (subjective) norms – driven by a view of what is socially acceptable – and not descriptive norms also – based on the perception of other peoples’ actions; and generally there are relatively few organisation based studies. The literature identifies that more research linking social influence mechanisms to behaviour change are needed; few field studies have looked at social norms and social comparison as part of effective measures. Also, the current review found little work that quantitatively and qualitatively examines the emergence of social norms, the focus of the majority of studies tends to be on translation of norms into self-reported behaviour.
This study presents results from a smart metering intervention that provided detailed individual desk based energy feedback to help individuals reduce energy in an organisation. The study provides empirical evidence on the emergence and diffusion of social norms in relation to energy services from energy feedback provided by the smart metering technology implemented within a case study organisation. Measuring individuals’ actual energy use, the study explores the translation of social norms into energy behaviours. Key literature from environmental psychology and economics are used to guide a strong research approach to the study. Results from the study identify that social norms around certain energy services changed as a result of the intervention, and the level of descriptive norms was found to have a direct effect on energy efficiency of participants. Interviews were carried out during the study and provided insight on social construction and social comparison processes occurring during the intervention as these are key to understanding the emergence and diffusion of social norms. Strong interaction between technologies/technology policy and social context was found. The results can help guide practical efforts for energy use reduction within public and private sector organisations by helping better understand different types of motivations to engage with smart metering technologies for energy reduction.Bradley-motivating-energy-conservation-in-organisations.pptx 841.12 KBBradley-motivating-energy-conservation-in-organistations.pdf 872.43 KB