Do energy information dashboards reduce energy consumption and change occupant behaviors and attitudes?

To find out, we implemented energy dashboards in four buildings on four different community college campuses and implemented a six-week energy behavior change campaign at these colleges. We measured energy consumption before and after the intervention, interviewed building managers, and surveyed students, faculty and staff before and after the intervention.

The good news: These two interventions did result in significant energy savings (7-10% decrease in electricity and 50% decrease in natural gas). Interviews with building managers indicated that energy dashboards improved their ability to detect system faults and implement energy-saving adjustments.

The not-so-good news: There were no significant differences in attitudes and behaviors for students, faculty, and staff before and after the intervention.

The take-away: Energy dashboards can be effective at improving facility management approaches and saving energy, but they may be less useful at influencing occupant attitudes and behaviors.

Timm, S. N., & Deal, B. M. (2016). Effective or ephemeral? The role of energy information dashboards in changing occupant energy behaviors. Energy Research and Social Science, 19, 11-20.