Kevin Hallinan, Anya Galli Robertson
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Reduction in energy consumption from fossil fuels is a necessary step toward combating climate change as more and more studies are revealing the catastrophic outcomes if the current trends do not change. Residential programs generally managed by energy utilities promoting energy cost savings and reduced consumption are being enacted to decrease the greenhouse emissions. However, thus far, little to no measures have been taken to extend the reach of such programs to low-income communities. Reducing household energy consumption would be particularly beneficial for these communities as it would lower utility bills for low-income households who spend a substantially greater portion of their annual income on energy bills compared to typical households. While installation of energy efficient appliances and envelope modifications dominate the emphasis of these programs, there is substantial room for energy savings through behavior modification. This research seeks to determine the most effective techniques for promoting and realizing energy reduction behaviors in low-income communities based upon peer-to-peer methods.
With a means to track and measure savings from behavioral modification using smart Wi-Fi thermostat and energy consumption data, preliminary results and takeaways from a pilot energy savings program for low-income communities were analyzed to evaluate effective education and intervention methods, complexities of understanding energy usage among low-income households, and factors associated with the effectiveness of the program to contribute to sustainable and resilient community development.
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Hoody, Jenn, "Designing and Implementing a Peer-to-Peer Led Behavioral and Energy Reduction Program for Low-Income Neighborhoods" (2020). Honors Theses. 297.