The strong effects of descriptive normative feedback (“how you compare to others”) on an individual’s electricity consumption have been documented in the IS literature. Here, we extend prior research on reference group effects (“whom to compare with”) by defining the relevance of the reference group in terms of similarity in contextual factors as opposed to personal characteristics. Specifically, we manipulate the spatial proximity of reference groups and test whether population density moderates the effects of feedback. In a field study with 560 energy customers, we find that reference groups that are close in terms of geographical proximity are more effective than more distant groups. However, population density does not moderate this effect. Designer of green information systems should therefore use reference groups that are close to the energy consumer with regard to geographical proximity, but they do not need to tailor the intervention to the energy consumer’s location.
The personal transport sector constitutes an important target of energy conservation and emission reduction programs. In this context, eco-feedback technologies that provide information on the driving behavior have shown to be an effective means to stimulate changes in driving in favor of both, reduced costs and environmental impact. This study extends the literature on eco-feedback technologies as it demonstrates that a smartphone application can improve fuel efficiency even under conditions where monetary incentives are not given, i.e. where the drivers do not pay for fuel. The field test, which took place with 50 corporate car drivers, demonstrates an improvement in the overall fuel efficiency by 3.23%. The theoretical contribution underlines the assumption that context-related feedback can favorably influence behavior even without direct financial benefits for the agent. Given the large share of corporate cars, findings are also of high practical importance and motivate future research on eco-driving feedback technologies.
Hot water usage accounts for 16% of household demand for energy, much more than lighting and cooking (5% each) and is comparable to electricity usage for appliances (21%). As a means of helping consumers to save hot water, we present a novel self-powered water consumption sensor that enables direct consumption feedback. We equipped 91 Swiss households with the sensors and recorded 3,164 individual showers during the period of three months. The presence of feedback during a shower resulted in the reduction of average shower water consumption from 79 l to 61 l (-22.2%) per day and household. In addition to savings attributable to already installed flow restrictors, an average household could conserve 6,400 l of drinking water and 210 kWh of heat energy (projected to one year). Furthermore, we show that the effects of direct feedback on water consumption did not decline over the course of the study.
We present a novel approach to identify individuals’ preferences in the context of
sustainable energy consumption by letting them play a public good game (PGG). The
study will be conducted using an energy-efficiency website developed by us and
operated by an Austrian utility company that currently facilitates 9,929 users out of
which 1,000 will be randomly selected as participants. Laboratory experiments on
PGGs identified two types of cooperative behavior: free riders and conditional
cooperators. While free riders tend to act unaffected by the behavior of others,
conditional cooperators are stronger influenced by the perception of their peers. In our
study, participants receive normative feedback on their consumption, and we
investigate the moderating effects of the PGG’s results on changes in energy
consumption. The findings will contribute to the design of information systems to
promote environmental sustainability because their effectiveness is increased if the
consumption feedback provided reflects the recipient’s preference.
The increasing demand for energy is rapidly exhausting our planet's natural resources (e.g. fossil fuels). Corporations with increasingly large car fleets significantly contribute to the volume of CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere. Further investigation is needed to help reduce this escalation in global warming utilizing eco-friendly yet cost effective measures. Internet of Things solutions, using sensor enabled feedback technologies with GPS and accelerometer, offer a medium which provides drivers with eco-driving feedback services. A field-test with 50 corporate car drivers demonstrated an overall improvement in fuel efficiency, supporting literature findings claiming that direct feedback has a greater impact on energy savings than indirect feedback approaches. In this study monetary incentives were irrelevant, as corporate car drivers fuel costs are reimbursed by the company. This provides an attractive opportunity for corporations looking to reduce their CO2 footprint and petrol costs by offering their employees eco-driving applications at minimum costs.