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The Post-Intervention Persistence of Energy Conservation Behaviors: An Evaluation of the ‘Start Green’ Program

1
School of Environment, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON M5S 3E8, Canada
2
Integrated Program in Neuroscience, McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 0G4, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 809; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030809
Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 26 February 2018 / Accepted: 8 March 2018 / Published: 14 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Abstract

For more than four decades, behavioral intervention programs informed by psychology have been employed to increase pro-environmental behaviors. However, there has been little evidence for the post-intervention durability of target behaviors. The few studies that have conducted such evaluations have found that improvements often return to baseline levels post-intervention. This study evaluated the durability of home energy conservation behaviors before, during, and after a community based multi-technique intervention program, and examined the relationship between behavioral durability and the perceived importance, convenience and family norms of each behavior, as well as generalized pro-conservation decision making. The results show increased frequency in target behaviors that remain elevated seven months post-intervention. While the reported generalization of pro-conservation decision-making consistently increased during the study, perceived importance, convenience, and family norms of target conservation behaviors were largely unaffected. In addition, the few significant alterations in these perceptions were found to be due to increases during the post-intervention period only, indicating that they are not necessary pre-requisites for durable behavior change. These results show that a well designed community based intervention can have direct impacts on target behaviors that persist beyond its termination. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation behavior; pro-environmental behavior; behavioral intervention; field intervention; durability; persistence; social norms; energy conservation behavior; pro-environmental behavior; behavioral intervention; field intervention; durability; persistence; social norms; energy
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Burns, S.B.; Savan, B. The Post-Intervention Persistence of Energy Conservation Behaviors: An Evaluation of the ‘Start Green’ Program. Sustainability 2018, 10, 809.

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