The Impact of Energy Information Upon Small Business Owners
Franklin, Casey Gail
University of Kansas
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This research evaluated the impact of energy information upon business owners' energy perceptions and behaviors within their architectural and social context. Specifically, it investigated if business owners were using an online electricity monitor, and how their perceptions related to engagement with energy information. The research sample consisted of ten small business owners who had participated in a free energy assessment program run by the local government. As part of the program, participants agreed to make one change the assessment suggested and attend two informational meetings. One meeting covering general energy efficiency topics and another instructing participants in use of an online electricity monitor. Data was gathered in the form of participant interviews, copies of the energy assessments, and screen shots of the electricity monitor. Interviews in context with the business owners covered topics such as how energy information impacted motivations, behaviors, and perceived limitations. Findings indicated that although each participant expressed an interest in conserving energy, none were regularly engaging with their electricity consumption information through the online monitor. Business owners did not find the monitor useful because it did not provide them information that was relevant to their business or architectural context. This indicates that future monitor designs should make a greater effort to incorporate information about users and their contexts into the representations of energy information. Doing this could make energy information more relevant and engaging so that users can relate to it and integrate it into their behavioral routines.
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