The Impact of Water-Energy Feedback on Water Conservation at Residence Halls
Jeong, Seung Hyo
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Demand for potable water and energy is increasing with growing populations and economies and many fear that scarcity of such resources will become a significant worldwide problem in the future. As such, promoting water and energy conservation in residential building environments has become an important focal area for research. Providing feedback of water or energy consumption to residential building occupants has been demonstrated to be effective in promoting water and energy conservation separately. However, although water and energy are inexorably connected, we lack research that investigates the bridge between water and energy in the representation of feedback to promote water conservation. In this paper, we describe a study that was designed to investigate the impact of two different representations of water consumption feedback on water conservation. Water consumption was represented to consumers in one of two different ways: 1) gallons and 2) gallons along with the estimated embodied energy of water consumption. The study was conducted in 18 residential halls at Virginia Tech and lasted approximately six weeks. The outcome of the study suggests that representing water consumption in terms of gallons together with the embodied energy associated with water consumption can lead to a statistically significant reduction in water conservation while representing water consumption only in terms of gallons may not. This has significant implications for future water feedback designed to promote water conservation and the study indicates that non-monetary approach can be taken.
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