A pilot project designed by graduate students at IU’s School of Public and Environment Affairs shows positive energy reduction efforts at three Naval Support Activity Crane facilities. The studies were presented to NSA Crane officials Tuesday.
Three teams of students conducted the studies from October 19 through November 5 and used behavior science tools focused on energy reduction, such as commitment, social norms and prompts, and measured energy use at each building. The studies showed energy reductions ranging from 4.5 percent to nearly 26 percent over a three-week period. The reduced energy equates to a potential savings of over $32,000 annually for all three facilities combined.
"I think the cumulative results of this project support our objective going in, which was to show that applying behavioral science to influence energy conservation is cost-effective and scalable," said William Brown, IU’s director of sustainability. "Because the pilot period was short, other factors may have contributed as well — or the approaches we used might have proven more effective over time. A longer study could determine that more definitively, but the key still lies in getting people to change how they think about energy consumption."
The project is part of an applied research partnership between IU and NSA Crane signed in October. The partnership also includes a new engineering program which is slated to begin next fall at IU’s Bloomington campus.
Brown also leads the IU Energy Challenge which launched in 2008 and has seen major success at the Bloomington campus. Since its inception, IU has saved 4.8 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, 16 million gallons of water and more than $1.2 million in energy costs. The pilot project is meant to help NSA Crane see the same results as IU.