Evaluating the impact of energy interventions: home audits vs. community events
Scott, Michelle Grace; McCarthy, Alaric; Ford, Rebecca; Stephenson, Janet; Gorrie, Seth
New Zealand’s housing stock tends to be of low thermal quality that can adversely affect the health and well-being of occupants as well as costing more than necessary to heat. Householders need information and motivation to make material changes and adopt new practices to achieve warmer and more energy-efficient homes. This study compares two different types of energy interventions with householders in three different suburbs in Dunedin, New Zealand. Two suburbs received a home energy audit whereby an auditor surveyed each house and provided personalised advice. Householders in the third suburb took part in community energy events that included general advice and practical workshops. The impacts of these interventions were evaluated through pre- and post-intervention surveys and post-intervention interviews. Home energy audits were successful in encouraging change both behavioural and practical, where it was possible. The energy events promoted community engagement and awareness relating to energy-saving actions. Participant feedback suggests that a combination of both types of intervention may be most effective in promoting household change, beginning with energy events in communities before offering home energy audits. This would enable people to share their thoughts and concerns about energy with the support of their social networks and engender trust in the process, before offering personalised audits. Overall, the results show that interventions need to be correctly targeted to appropriate communities to be effective.
Publisher: Springer Link
Rights Statement: The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12053-015-9420-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Keywords: Energy; Housing; Intervention; Green Grid; Home Energy Audit; Community events; Behaviour change
Research Type: Journal Article