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    Using digital technologies to test the Social Norms Approach to reducing electricity consumption

    HCI2012 - People & Computers XXVI

    Proceedings of HCI 2012
    The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction

    Birmingham, UK, 12 - 14 September 2012


    Tim Harries, Ruth Rettie & Matt Studley


    An 18-week experimental intervention with 316 Bristol householders used digital technologies to collect and feed back hourly data on participants’ own electricity consumption and that of others in their neighbourhood. By providing digital feedback (by email and web) to two thirds of participants and only giving half of these the social data, the study set out to test the effectiveness of the social norms approach at reducing domestic electricity consumption in a UK setting. Initial findings suggest little difference between the impact of individual feedback and individual plus social feedback but point to the importance of the granularity of feedback data and the inclusion, in future research, of large samples, extended data collection periods and adequate experimental controls.


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