Publications / 2016 Proceedings of the 33rd ISARC, Auburn, USA

The Impact of Eco-Feedback on Energy Consumption Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study

Jing Lin, Nan Li, Guofeng Ma and Junjie Zhou
Pages 274-281 (2016 Proceedings of the 33rd ISARC, Auburn, USA, ISBN 978-1-5108-2992-3, ISSN 2413-5844)

To reduce energy consumption in buildings, researchers have in the recent decade explored the potential of changing occupants' energy consumption behaviors using eco-feedback technologies. Energy consumption behavior is a type of consumer behavior, which has been proven cultural-specific in prior research. This paper aims to examine the impact of cultural differences on the effectiveness of eco-feedback technologies in reshaping building occupants' energy consumption behaviors. Energy consumption monitoring instruments were installed in four student dormitories, three resided by Chinese students and one by international students. The daily energy consumption of every unit in the dormitories was monitored. A web-based eco-feedback system was developed, which was responsible for sending weekly email reminders to students participating in the study and, upon their logins, providing them with their detailed energy consumption data as well as those of their peers. Changes in the students' energy consumption behaviors were analyzed, and correlated with their cultural background, which was assessed using a survey instrument designed based on Hofstede's dimensions of culture. Results proved that cultural background assessed in certain dimensions were significantly correlated with the effectiveness of eco-feedback technologies. The results suggested that eco-feedback technologies should be tailored to specific cultural context to maximize their effectiveness in building energy conservation.

Keywords: Cross-cultural, Behavior, Eco-feedback, Energy consumption