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Consumer Response to Product-Integrated Energy Feedback: Behavior, Goal Level Shifts, and Energy Conservation

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Environment and Behavior, Volume 43, Number 4, p.525-545 (2011)



Results of recent experiments suggest that interactive control panels of individual appliances can be used to stimulate energy saving behavior by offering the means for consumers to set a goal and receive immediate energy use feedback. The underlying source of the behavioral response, however, remains unclear. The present study compares the effects of a foot-in-the-door intervention, designed to activate a general conservation goal, and a specific task-related goal-setting procedure on the basis of feedback intervention theory (FIT). FIT predicts that any intervention that results in activating a goal at any other hierarchical level of specificity than that needed to perform a task in an energy-saving way will distract attention from the conservation action and attenuate performance. Results lend support to this interpretation. The roles of attention, goal parameters, and goal prioritization are discussed in terms of the present and future research.