A study involving UCF’s Florida Solar Energy Center that showed people change their behavior when they become aware of how much energy they’re using is again earning national attention.
The Houston Chronicle cited the 2008 study in an article about a recent study conducted by a utility company in Houston that also sought to measure people’s behavioral changes.
Small devices about the size of a cell phone, known as in-home energy monitors, were placed in 300 homes in the Houston area and provided real-time power use information to the participants. Study results showed more than 75 percent cut back their power usage once they were aware of how much energy was used and its cost.
Mentioning other similar studies, the report cited the 2008 study by the U.S. Department of Energy and the Florida Solar Energy Center, a University of Central Florida research institute, that found in-home power monitors could reduce consumers’ bills. The joint study found the monitors could reduce home energy costs by 5 to 15 percent, depending on the user.
“Interest and motivation were large factors in whether having the feedback device made a difference in energy use,” according to the study.
The Florida Solar Energy Center’s building science program was founded to research and develop strategies that can reduce the energy use of buildings. Also aiming to strengthen the economy and improve the environment, strategies include research on home energy retrofits and building new energy efficient homes.
Other results from the pilot program in Houston showed, among other changes to conserve energy, that customers were more conscientious about turning off lights when they left a room or went to bed and adjusted their thermostats to make the heating or air conditioning run less.