Cool Choices Executive Director, Kathy Kuntz, recently talked about behavior change strategies as part of a panel discussion in an environmental economics class at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
Wondering how you can influence behavior to reduce energy usage among businesses as well as residents?
Over the last decade, energy efficiency programs—faced with aggressive goals and fewer easy wins relative to technology—began seeking to change participant behaviors, especially at the household level. One strategy—home energy reports—dominated the program design. Home energy reports feature a model where participants receive feedback on how their energy usage compares to other homes—leveraging social norms. There is now plenty of research proving that households will reduce their energy usage if they learn that their consumption is higher than other peer households.
However, one of the challenges with the home energy report model, is that while we know that households reduce their usage, we don’t know how they reduced their usage, or for how long those reductions will persist.
In the wake of the US federal government pulling out of the Paris Treaty on Climate Change, cutting the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and reducing national park land, some might wonder what 2018 sustainability trends might look like. However, new entities have emerged to lead the fight to reduce climate change and champion sustainability. We saw more than 2,500 businesses, local governments, colleges and universities, tribal leaders, and faith-based organizations step forward and sign the We Are Still In pledge, committing to tackle climate change, ensure a clean energy future, and uphold the Paris Agreement with or without the help of the federal government. Efforts like We’re Still In demonstrate the power of leadership at all levels.
Here at Cool Choices, we stand by the idea that sustainable actions – no matter how small – add up to make a positive, meaningful impact. Since the new year is the perfect opportunity to start practicing new, more positive habits, here is a list of ten small actions you can take to expand upon your sustainability journey in 2018.
Check out this story by Cool Choices sustainability program alum Kevin, who found a creative way to repurpose waste in his community by recycling old Styrofoam. We are always impressed and inspired by how our program alumni continue to take daily sustainable actions even after the program ends.
“The suggestions from building occupants can get pretty overwhelming – how can I be responsive, as you recommend, when we can’t address everything immediately?”
Past players of the Cool Choices game-based sustainability program continue to make sustainable choices in their everyday lives even after the program ends. We are always impressed to learn how participating in Cool Choices impacts individuals and their decisions to take further sustainable actions. This month we were inspired by Sarah’s story!
In a few weeks, several Cool Choices staff will attend the annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) conference. This will be my ninth time attending the annual BECC conference and I look forward to this event every year because for me, BECC is reinforcing, challenging and inspirational.
In September I’ll present at the World Energy Engineering Congress in Atlanta. I’ll present on Engaging Employees to Maximize Savings: A Cool Approach as part of a session titled How to Stop Misbehaving to Save Energy and Money. The session title suggests that the priority is to stop bad behavior; here at Cool Choices, though, we focus on identifying, amplifying and multiplying good behavior.
It’s really about the frame.
From the beginning, our mission at Cool Choices has been to inspire individuals, businesses, and whole communities to adopt sustainable practices which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We aim to accomplish our mission by changing behaviors. Sound easy, right? Maybe not. We also aim to make sustainable behavior change fun and social. Here’s how.