A persuasive case for ex ante evaluation of energy savings campaigns?

Caroline Wilson

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    Energy saving by building users is now one of the top sustainable behaviour change priorities of both public and private sector organisations, and communication of information is the most popular strategy to deliver such voluntary change. A major challenge to this type of strategy is that what makes information persuasive is contextual, according to the communication situation and the interests, cultural expectations and needs of the audience. Further, such behaviour change initiatives across Europe do not currently have a track record of quality evaluation. The Elaboration Likelihood Model (Petty & Cacioppo 1986a) offers a potential framework for assessing this type of strategy ahead of implementation, as it focusses on the features of communication that exert influence on attitudes. This paper reports on the use of the framework to pre-test a project to engage building users with a new feedback mechanism. The building users and public buildings in this research are a sub-set of the EU-funded SMARTSPACES project to deliver more energy efficient use of such property. Quantitative findings show that the proposed intervention contains information which is credible and believable and associated with raised intentions. Qualitative feedback from focus groups provides insights into the aspects which fail to motivate. As well as learning for the SMARTSPACES project, there are observations which are useful to others trying to engage building users in adopting more energy efficient behaviour. These insights indicate that using communication theory to frame an ex ante evaluation has potential to help address the gap in preparatory work to find out what works ahead of engaging building users in saving energy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    EventInternational Energy Program and Policy Evaluation Conference - Berlin, Germany
    Duration: 9 Sept 201411 Sept 2014


    ConferenceInternational Energy Program and Policy Evaluation Conference

    Bibliographical note

    The full text is also available from: http://www.iepec.org//conf-docs/papers/2014/Caroline%20Wilson.pdf


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