Motivating energy conservation in organisations: Smart metering and the emergence and diffusion of social norms

By Robert Lyons on 14th December 2016

This study presents results from a smart metering intervention that provided detailed individual desk-based energy feedback to help individuals reduce energy in an organisation. Although the intervention was based on the study of individuals, this paper explores how the technology was socialised, and was set to explore changes in normative influence (descriptive and injunctive norms) around specific energy services, before and after the intervention.

Results from the study identify that social norms around certain energy services changed as a result of the intervention, and the level of descriptive norms was found to have a direct effect on energy efficiency of participants. Interviews were carried out during the study and provided insight into social construction and social comparison processes occurring during the intervention as these are key to understanding the emergence and diffusion of social norms. Strong interaction between technologies/technology policy and social context was found.