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Energy Conservation Campaign

The Energy Conservation Campaign at Kiel University is a pilot project which has been implemented to evaluate the potential of behavioural based energy conservation interventions. The projects runs over a period of three years (October 2013- October 2016) and has been supported by the Gesellschaft für Energie und Klimaschutz (EKSH). The energy conservation campaign has two main aims. Firstly, quantitative targets of a reduction of electricity consumption by eight per cent and a heat energy consumption reduction by four per cent over a three-year period ending October 2016. Secondly, it aims to incorporate ecological awareness into organisational values, in order to achieve long-lasting changes in perception amongst the university’s members. This participatory approach will generate an organisational change process which takes account of energy-relevant behaviour and the respective underlying values. For such change objectives a stakeholder participatory approach is incremental. Therefore, the Energy Conservation Campaign has been implemented at three different institutes of Kiel University to test the effects of a participatory approach on the organisational culture of a university.

The key challenge in applying a participatory approach in order to increase energy consciousness is that environmental behaviour can be considered a high-cost behaviour. This means that individuals constantly undertake cost-benefit-analyses for decision-making processes and are unlikely to engage when the outcome is unfavourable. The challenge is to overcome the costly hurdles, namely several types of internal and external control beliefs. Internal control beliefs consist of emotional and cognitive barriers (collective action problem, loose support networks) whereas external control beliefs depend on the context, in this case mainly institutional barriers, i.e. lack in time, money and understanding from co-workers. an Strengthening self-efficacy of university members through opportunities of participation has been identified as the most effective ways of overcoming such obstacles. This is what Kiel University aims to accomplish through its Energy Conservation Campaign.

 

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