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Lighting Efficiency

The Impact of Energy-Efficient Office Lighting Strategies on Employee Satisfaction and Productivity

This experiment, conducted for PacifiCorp, Inc., investigated the effect of recently-developed energy-efficient office lighting strategies on employee performance, affective mood, and acceptance. To undertake this experiment three energy-efficient lighting strategies and one standard control system were installed at the Lighting Design Lab in Seattle, Washington. Twenty-four office employees were rotated in a counterbalanced order through these office-labs, spending approximately an hour and a half in each one. While they were in the office-labs, the subjects worked on five computer-presented tasks, including a typing test, entering data on a spreadsheet, detecting errors in a written test, reading for content and responding to questions on a personality inventory and lighting strategy evaluation.

The outcome of this experiment revealed there were significant differences between the office lighting strategies in terms of employee satisfaction. However, with the exception of the reading for content test, the lighting strategies had a relatively modest impact on the subject's performance on the cognitive/intellectual tasks employed in the study. The lighting conditions also had relatively little influence on their overall mood state while working in the office-labs. Our findings indicated that the subjects' initial reaction to the office lighting strategies tended to dissipate over time, so that with continued exposure to these conditions, they were likely to adapt to the new lighting conditions and display few changes in their performance or affective mood. this study was instrumental in helping PacifiCorp design efficient office lighting systems throughout the Northwest.

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Single Family Households

Comparing the Effects of Monetary Incentives and Social Influence Strategies in Promoting Residential Electricity Conservation

Two experiments compared the impact of incentive and social influence techniques on residential electrical energy consumption in a middle class neighborhood setting. Homeowners were asked to curtail their consumption by 10% - 15%. Social influence techniques led to significantly greater decrements in consumption than control conditions which only involved the conservation request. In addition, they were more effective than incentive conditions in producing long-term reductions in consumption. These results pointed to some of the limitations of conventional incentive approaches and suggested the potential value of applying social influence strategies in promoting energy conservation in the community at-large.

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An Evaluation of the State of Oregon's Low Income Residential Energy Savings Program

This report describes the results of a two year Federally funded residential energy assistance program that made available benefits and services to recipients of a low income home energy assistance program in 26 Oregon counties. The program provided co-payments on energy bills, energy education, residential repair and weatherization assistance, family budget management guidance and case management. The report documents the program's application, evaluation methodology and results. In terms of energy outcomes, the results showed a 11% reduction in energy usage that was also maintained s in the year after the project ended, as well as a 42% reduction in the client's utility company arrearages. Participation in the program also led to an average 2.5% decline in the amount of household income allocated to energy.

Low Income Energy Savings (PDF file)

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Multi-Family Units

The Effects of Feedback and Social Reinforcement on Energy Conservation in Multi-Family Settings

This experiment explored the effect of informational feedback in reducing electrical energy usage in all-electric apartments. Written feedback was provided to each unit under several conditions, including daily or every third day and contingently (dependent on reduced consumption) or non-contingently (independent of consumption). Each of the feedback conditions had very little effect on electrical energy consumption. A model was developed for specifying the boundary conditions under which it might be more effective.

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Small Commercial Research

Determinants of Energy Efficiency in Small Commercial Buildings

In a study of the determinants of energy use in small commercial buildings, in-depth personal interviews were conducted with small-business owners and managers of retail outlets in a shopping center. An ethnographic interview method was combined with the use of fixed questions to provide the principal data source for this investigation. Lack of feedback on energy consumption, separation of managers from costs, low energy costs relative to gross sales are the principal factors distinguishing this sector from the residential sector and are important influences on energy use in small commercial buildings. This project suggested that traditional energy efficiency programs designed for the residential sector, such as audits and special rates, may not be appropriate in the small commercial sector, and that energy efficiency programs for this sector should recognize and exploit non-financial determinants of behavior, target decision makers, intervene at the time of retrofits and remodels, and improve user information using simple feedback methods.

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