Stanford University

The impact of vivid and personal messages on reducing energy consumption related to hot water use

Bailey, J.O., Bailenson, J.N., Flora, J., Armel, K.C., Voelker, D., & Reeves, B. (2015). The impact of vivid and personal messages on reducing energy consumption related to hot water use. Environment and Behavior, 47 (5), 570-592.

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Abstract

Research suggests that vivid and personalized interventions influence proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors. Through the use of immersive virtual environment technology, people can experience vivid environmental scenarios that are personalized to the individual. An experiment was conducted to investigate the impact of vivid and/or personal messages on energy savings behavior related to hot water use. Participants experienced a virtual shower in which they received feedback (varying in vividness and/or personalization) on the amount of energy used to heat and transport the virtual water. Participants’ hot water use during hand washing in the physical world was tracked before and after treatment. Participants exposed to vivid messages used cooler water compared with not vivid messages. There was no significant effect for personal messages and no interaction effect. The results suggest that technology that leverages vividness may be effective in promoting proenvironmental behaviors.

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