Publication Date

Spring 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Environmental Studies


William H. Russell


community-based energy conservation program, community energy education program, energy conservation, energy reduction, environmental education, household energy use

Subject Areas

Environmental education; Social psychology


In order to promote the adoption of home energy reduction practices and mitigate the climate impact of the collective greenhouse gas emissions generated by consumers, it is critical to identify an effective educational approach. A community-based educational intervention model that employs norms, information, commitment, feedback, and face-to-face communication strategies was examined for its ability to motivate changes in everyday energy-use behavior in two communities compared to a control group. A follow up study was also conducted to evaluate whether behaviors adopted as a result of the intervention were long lasting, and whether the community-focused features of the intervention were motivating to participants. Results showed that a greater number of individuals participated in the intervention over its five-month duration, reported significantly higher numbers of adopted behaviors, and maintained more adopted behaviors post-intervention than did people in the control group. In addition, intervention participants reported that some of the community-based features of the intervention motivated their behavior changes. These findings lend support to a number of social and community psychology theories about how to design effective interventions by leveraging social awareness and support.