Research Projects

Project at a Glance

Project Status: active

Title: Using feedback from commercial buildings to support energy-conserving behavior at work and beyond

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Arens, Edward

Contractor: UC Berkeley

Contract Number: 10-310

Research Program Area: Climate Change

Topic Areas: Behavioral Change

Research Summary:

Assembly Bill (AB) 32 Scoping Plan specifies 20 MMTCO2e GHG emissions reductions from retrofits in existing buildings as well as voluntary measures. Commercial buildings account for 33% of energy use in California's buildings and are thus a critical target for emissions reductions. Proposed research will develop guidelines for and a prototype of a Building Information and Feedback System (BIFS) that fosters energy efficient operations and occupant behaviors. Based on five-month trials with BIFS in two commercial buildings in California, occupant behaviors, beliefs and attitudes regarding energy will be monitored, as will persistence of any effects measured after the trial is concluded. Results will shed light on how commercial building occupants respond to energy messaging designed to encourage energy conservation. Occupant response will be analyzed for a demographically diverse group with a variety of attitudes and beliefs toward energy conservation. Unlike many conservation programs, which require that participants "opt in" to a program, this study's sample is not restricted to those who have demonstrated opt-in initiative. The development of a BIFS, systematic monitoring of occupants and operators' interactions with energy conservation messaging, and persistence of changed attitudes and behaviors will support ARB's efforts to encourage voluntary emissions reductions in the commercial building sector. In addition to supporting the AB 32 Scoping Plan, results of this work can help building managers earn LEED Innovative Design credits for occupant education.


For questions regarding research reports, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893

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