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Intrinsic Changes: Energy Saving Behaviour Among Resident University Students

  • Rosemary Black (a1), Penny Davidson (a1) and Karen Retra (a1)


This paper presents the results of a study that explored the effectiveness of three intervention strategies in facilitating energy saving behaviour among resident undergraduate university students. In contrast to a dominant practice of motivating with rewards or competition this study sought to appeal to students' intrinsic motivations. An experimental design was used with two intervention groups and a control group. The interventions were the provision of real-time feedback provided by an inhouse energy consumption display unit (ecoMeter) and a targeted social marketing approach. They were evaluated using energy consumption data and self-report data from the participants via an on-line survey and focus groups. Across the three research phases the rate of reduced electricity consumption for the interventions ranged from an average of 17% to 28% less than the control group. The findings provide evidence that facilitation of intrinsically motivated behaviours can result in reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.


Corresponding author

Charles Sturt University, PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia. Email:


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