Examining community-level collaborative vs. competitive approaches to enhance household electricity-saving behavior

Wemyss, Devon and Castri, Roberta and Cellina, Francesca and De Luca, Vanessa and Lobsiger-Kaegi, Evelyn and Carabias-Hutter, Vicente (2018) Examining community-level collaborative vs. competitive approaches to enhance household electricity-saving behavior. UNSPECIFIED. Energy Efficiency. ISSN 1570-6478

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Abstract

To test the effectiveness of a competitive or collaborative approach on engaging people to change their household electricity-use habits, a mobile app, called Social Power, is developed to provide electricity meter feedback in two gamified environments. The project aims at stimulating social engagement and promoting behavioral change to save electricity at the household level by forming teams of neighbors in two Swiss cities. The household participants are assigned to one of two teams: either a collaborative team where citizens in the same city try to reach a fixed, 10% electricity savings target collectively or a competitive team which tries to save the most electricity in comparison to another city. The collaborative and competitive gamified structures are run in parallel as a 3-month field experiment (February to May 2016) involving 108 recruited household participants in two cities, with ultimately 46 who actively play. In this paper, we present the result of the two gamified structures on the sustainability of reported behavior, as well as on actual saved electricity. Overall, a collaborative or a competitive intervention contributes to electricity savings and reported behavior as compared to the control group; however, no significant difference is found between the two gamified structures.

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