Feedback and Goal-setting Interventions to Reduce Electricity Use in the Real World

Patricia Frazer, Julian Leslie


A field experiment explored the effect of feedback and goal-setting interventions on residential electricity use in households in Northern Ireland. Alternating orders of presentation of feedback and no feedback conditions were used to explore the longer-term effect of feedback on conservation performance. Group 1 received 5 months of feedback followed by 5 months of no feedback, Group 2 underwent 5 months of no feedback followed by 5 months of feedback, and Group 3 experienced alternating 2-month periods of feedback and no feedback over 10 months, using a reversal design. Group 1 saved a mean 9.54% of electricity during the feedback condition, but Group 2 increased their use by a mean 14.24%. Group 3 showed a pattern of cumulative reductions over successive feedback periods, with a mean reduction in electricity use of 33%. Participants in Group 3 did not show a return to baseline levels of electricity use during the no feedback condition. The importance of exploring different reactions to feedback is discussed.


environmental action; feedback; goal-setting; energy use

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Published by the University of Illinois at Chicago Library

And Behaviorists for Social Responsibility