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Using Self-Awareness as a Means to Reduce Energy Consumption
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1  Anglia Ruskin University

Published: 03 November 2014 by MDPI in The 4th World Sustainability Forum session Energy Sustainability
Abstract: During a period of 6 months, 15 previously homeless male participants from a small town in the UK were encouraged to adopt an intrinsic and environmentally responsible attitude. The aim was to specifically reduce the participants' energy consumption. This was done through self- awareness sessions in parallel with traditional environmental educational sessions. Self-awareness was in this study used as a tool to help guide the participants towards a positive sense of self through the engagement of energy saving behaviours. The self-awareness sessions took place in the form of a series of small group sessions. Focus groups were conducted prior to the group sessions taking place and after they had been completed, in order to measure whether their environmentally held beliefs had changed. Each focus group was structured around their environmentally held beliefs and took around 1 hour. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the focus groups. The analysis revealed that at the onset the participants lacked interest in energy reduction behaviours. However, after having taken part in the self-awareness sessions it became evident that a shift in attitudes had occurred. This investigation was part of a bigger project with the participants in which their social housing underwent retrofitting with air-source heat pumps, to make the houses more energy efficient. Consequently, participants' energy usage was monitored using smart meters. Such monitoring supported the results from the thematic analysis in that it showed a decrease in energy use during the 6 months period the participants attended self-awareness sessions.
Keywords: Energy consumption; self-help; self-awareness; homeless