Cognitive Barriers to Energy Efficient Decision Making in US Coast Guard Facility Management
Delgado, Laura Ana
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Government agencies have attempted to reduce energy consumption using executive orders, mandates, and agency policies. Despite these efforts, overall energy consumption of government facilities has not experienced significant energy reductions. Why haven't these efforts succeeded? The premise is that energy consumption decisions and their unintended outcomes contribute to this problem, and in this manuscript research focuses on cognitive bias, choice architecture, and decision making in relation to energy decisions answer this question. Potential impacts cognitive bias has on the decision maker is examined, and if it is possible to design better decision environments to account for cognitive bias and help decision makers maximize benefits (utility). This manuscript first examines the literature of cognitive bias, choice architecture, and government energy management, especially how these topics relate to meeting the country's energy goals. The next chapter examines cognitive bias that government facility managers encounter using qualitative analysis. In this study, the research indicates facility managers encounter loss aversion, risk aversion, choice overload, and the status quo bias during energy decisions. The last chapter examines applications of choice architecture, specifically attribute framing, to emphasize the utility maximizing choice of long term energy reductions over initial cost. This study found that decision makers did not see the utility of the energy efficient option without an intervention to draw their attention to the long term savings. Once the decision makers became aware of the potential savings, they chose the most efficient (and utility maximizing) option.
- Masters Theses