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Evaluating the Effect of Framing Energy Consumption in Terms of Losses versus Gains on Air-Conditioner Use: A Field Experiment in a Student Dormitory in Japan

Abstract : Promoting energy conservation in university dormitories is challenging because student residents are typically charged a flat utility fee. One possibility to curb excessive energy use in the absence of monetary incentives is to highlight the environmental consequences of energy use. However, it is still largely unknown how these consequences should be communicated to effectively change people’s behavior. In the present study, we analyzed the effect of framing the environmental consequences of energy use in terms of losses versus gains on the air-conditioner use of student residents of a Japanese university dormitory. A total of 330 students were provided with stickers to attach to the air-conditioner remote control in their dormitory room during the winter term. The stickers conveyed that increasing the temperature will hurt the environment (loss frame), that reducing the temperature will protect the environment (gain frame), or that changing the temperature will affect the environment (neutral frame). Day-to-day variations in objective air-conditioner use data were analyzed as a function of experimental condition to examine the effect of message framing. The change in air-conditioner use from pre-intervention to intervention period did not differ between experimental groups and neither did the change from pre-intervention period to a period after the intervention.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 15, 2021 - 9:58:14 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, September 16, 2021 - 3:33:51 AM

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Shimpei Iwasaki, Samuel Franssens, Siegfried Dewitte, Florian Lange. Evaluating the Effect of Framing Energy Consumption in Terms of Losses versus Gains on Air-Conditioner Use: A Field Experiment in a Student Dormitory in Japan. Sustainability, MDPI, 2021, 13 (8), pp.4380. ⟨10.3390/su13084380⟩. ⟨hal-03344480⟩

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