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Energies 2016, 9(3), 172; doi:10.3390/en9030172

Reducing Energy Use and Carbon Emissions: A Critical Assessment of Small-Group Interventions

1
Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University, Queens Building, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK
2
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences, James Hutton Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB15 8QH, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Enrico Sciubba
Received: 14 December 2015 / Revised: 18 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 8 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Energy and Sustainable Development)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [203 KB, uploaded 8 March 2016]

Abstract

Motivating individuals to decrease the environmental impact of their lifestyles could play an important role in reducing energy use and meeting carbon reduction commitments in developed countries. Few approaches which encourage voluntary changes in behaviour result in substantial reductions in energy use, however, particularly over the longer term. An exception to this general trend is small-group interventions which use group participation and which target collections of behaviours including energy use. Through a critical examination of published data this paper considers the energy and carbon emission reductions achieved by such initiatives, the durability of those reductions, and the common elements which may contribute to their success. Participants in small-group interventions reduced their energy use and carbon emissions by approximately 20% within a year. There is also some evidence that these reductions were lasting and that participants continued to make changes to their lifestyles after the end of the intervention. The reasonable person model (RPM) is proposed as a useful framework for understanding the success of these small-group interventions. Examination of small-group interventions suggests that they provide settings which are supportive of informational needs, and that this may be important to their success in promoting substantial and durable decreases in energy use. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy use; behaviour change; small-group discussion; reasonable person model (RPM); interventions; evaluation; carbon emission reduction energy use; behaviour change; small-group discussion; reasonable person model (RPM); interventions; evaluation; carbon emission reduction
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Fisher, J.; Irvine, K. Reducing Energy Use and Carbon Emissions: A Critical Assessment of Small-Group Interventions. Energies 2016, 9, 172.

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