Feature Article

Energy Dashboards: Using Real-Time Feedback to Influence Behavior

All right, I’ll admit it. Like a lot of people, I’ve been known to drive with a heavy foot. Sometimes I have a good reason, but often not. Unlike many people, though, I’m able to see just how much worse my fuel economy is when I’m rushed and driving faster. Seeing my average fuel economy drop on my dashboard display encourages me to slow down. This is sometimes referred to as the

Prius effect, though in my case I’m driving a 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid.

Can the same principle apply to buildings? If we provide real-time information to building occupants on their energy consumption, will they be encouraged to conserve? A growing number of products are designed to do this—some focus only on electricity, others look more broadly at energy, and a few also track water use.

Published November 24, 2008