Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Changing energy habits may have a simple solution

Date:
May 19, 2014
Source:
Clarkson University
Summary:
What makes people use less energy? For many, it's the cost: economic, environmental or both. Costs are only made clear, though, in a monthly utility bill. And that's something millions of Americans never see, including renters and students. A Smart Housing Project is the first of its kind in the United States to take an interdisciplinary look at how technology can change behavior around the daily use of water and power.

Clarkson University Ph.D. student Patrick F. Wilbur displays some of the electronics being used to collect data in Clarkson University housing. Clarkson’s Smart Housing Project is the first of its kind in the nation to take an interdisciplinary look at how technology can change behavior around the daily use of water and power.
Credit: Image courtesy of Clarkson University

Clarkson University's Smart Housing Project is the first of its kind in the nation to take an interdisciplinary look at how technology can change behavior around the daily use of water and power.

What makes people use less energy? For many, it's the cost: economic, environmental or both. Costs are only made clear, though, in a monthly utility bill. And that's something millions of Americans never see.

These are people who live in various types of housing where power is part of the rent. This group includes more than half a million New Yorkers that live in college residence halls. Across the U.S., student housing accommodates 13 million people for about nine months a year.

"That's a lot of people who have access to a thermostat but never get a heating bill," says Clarkson University Assistant Professor of Political Science Stephen Bird. His work in energy policy includes in-depth research on the "split incentive" problem.

"Essentially," he says, "it's any situation where the benefits people receive aren't in line with the amount of money they pay. But in this case, the students are drawing large amounts of energy which, in turn, loads the power grid and consumes natural resources expensively and inefficiently."

The fix may be remarkably simple -- and not too expensive, either.

"If we can show students how much energy they use," Bird says, "if they see the impact of turning up the heat in winter or spending 15 minutes in the shower instead of five, we expect their behavior will change, dramatically."

So, how can students see energy use? With a dashboard -- a digital readout -- showing the amount of electricity and water flowing into their living space. As Clarkson University's Woodstock Village student apartments went through extensive renovations last summer, faculty and students installed sensors and other data collecting elements.

"There's an enormous potential here to help people make more sustainable choices," says Clarkson Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Kerop Janoyan, who is working with Bird on the project. "Because once you quantify energy usage, you start looking at renewable sources of energy."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Clarkson University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Clarkson University. "Changing energy habits may have a simple solution." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519160527.htm>.
Clarkson University. (2014, May 19). Changing energy habits may have a simple solution. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519160527.htm
Clarkson University. "Changing energy habits may have a simple solution." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140519160527.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Bank of America's $17 Bln Settlement

Reuters - Business Video Online (Aug. 21, 2014) — Bank of America's settlement is by far the largest amount paid by big banks facing mortgage securities probes. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) — Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Families Can Now Ask Twitter To Remove Photos Of Deceased

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — In the wake of a high-profile harassment case, Twitter says family members can ask for photos of dying or dead relatives to be taken down. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Reasons Why Teen Birth Rates Are At An All-Time Low

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A CDC report says birth rates among teenagers have been declining for decades, reaching a new low in 2013. We look at several popular explanations. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins