Energy SavingAward Programs

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The copying effects of behavior modeling are also seen within regular everyday social interaction. Darley [52] found in a study of energy conservation equipment that the installation of clock thermostats spread from the initial users to their friends, colleagues, and co- workers. The adoptions of instruments or measures, referred through social networks, are based on trust or at least knowledge about biases and values, which can be considered. Actions of friends and associates serve as experiments, which can be monitored, evaluated and eventually acted upon.

This social copying effect can also be used within energy awareness programs. Opinions and attitudes about the environment and energy conservation as well as specific actions ensuring sustainability will be communicated and passed on to colleagues and co-workers automatically but can be assisted and enhanced through target-oriented processes. Outstanding thoughts, ideas, and measures of employees need to be recognized, first to show gratitude and second to provide good examples to everyone.

A classical method to recognize a desired performance is a reward system based on behavior theory (see Section 3.2.3). Energy conserving actions are being rewarded with direct or indirect monetary incentives or tokens (incentives that can be exchanged for valuable assets) to reinforce and increase them. However, as discussed in Section 3.3.2 as well, only short-term behavior changes can be reached with interventions of this kind and in most cases no permanent sustainability. Therefore an award program should be used instead of a reward system.

The award program needs to recognize the employee of the week, month or year, who saved most energy or had the best idea how to produce or behave sustainably. With this procedure, gratitude is provided and desirable examples are given to colleagues and co- workers, motivating them to engage in the same or similar behavior (copying effect) or even compete to get the honors themselves. The award should focus on public appreciation and tribute, if at all combined with a small prize. Stern [53] as well as Katzev and Johnsons [54] report that small or weak incentives are often more successful than large or strong ones in inducing increased energy efficiency because the first tend to suggest that the behavior is internally, rather than externally, motivated, which results in a greater commitment to act. A smaller prize enables the copying of desired behavior more by choice than by the pull of a greater incentive.

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