Combination of Methods

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Just as a combination of goal-setting and feedback unites the strengths and decreases the weaknesses of each individual behavior change method (see above), so does a comprehensive mixture of interventions of the theories described in Sections 3.2.1-3.2.5. Many researchers and numerous studies have shown that a combination of strategies and methods is generally more effective to increase energy awareness and sustainable behavior than applying solely one strategy or a single intervention (e.g., [36-38]). Gardner and Stern [39] found that for example, the provision of education to inform and change attitude as well as the alternating of material incentives for specific behavior through rewards and penalties can change behavior. However, programs which include combinations of interventions lead to much more success than individual interventions. An evaluation study about major investments in home energy conservation highlights the effect marketing and communication have within its combination with financial incentives of 93% subsidy offered by electric utility companies. It was shown that the number of consumers taking the subsidyn increased from 1% to nearly 20% when adequate marketing and communication was used [40].

An explanation of why a variety of approaches are to be chosen over single measures could be individual differences and the fact that '... behavior is determined by multiple variables, sometimes in interaction' [38] . Therefore, it is crucial to identify personal motives, reasons for certain behavior and potential barriers to act as desired for each individual or use a combination of methods to be able to reach as many as possible.

Stern [38] provides the following list of principles, which should be considered while intending to change environmentally destructive behavior.

• Use multiple intervention types to address the factors limiting behavior change (combination of methods).

• Understand the situation from the user's perspective.

• When limiting factors are psychological, apply understanding of human choice processes.

• Address conditions beyond the individual that constrain pro-environmental choice.

• Set realistic expectations about outcomes (goal-setting).

• Continually monitor responses and adjust programs accordingly (feedback).

• Stay within the bounds of work staff s tolerance for intervention.

• Use participatory methods of decision making (active participation).

Besides the combination of strategies and methods, Stern [38] also suggests having focus groups actively participating in the decision making process, which includes agreeing on realistic expectations about outcomes, meaning setting goals together (compare Section 3.2.4).

With these characteristics considered and the resulting consequences implemented, a behavior change program will be able to reach a great variety of individual people, create awareness as well as provide the necessary information and motivation to change behavior and engage in energy conservation. It will become from a practical and theoretical point of view a 'state-of-the-art' energy awareness program.

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