The Use of Prompts in Reducing Electricity Consumption in University Classrooms

Luyben, P. D. (1980). Effects of informational prompts on energy conservation in college classrooms. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 13, 4, 611-617.
In order to reduce the occurrence of lights being left on in unused classrooms, a pilot program was initiated. Since a literature review revealed prompts to be effective in energy conservation, they were incorporated into the program design. Therefore, a letter was sent to faculty members who taught in a room during the period prior to it being left empty. The letter reminded professors of the importance of energy conservation and noted that lights were often left on in unused classrooms. Furthermore, the letter informed the faculty that they taught prior to a class being left empty and asked for their aid in turning off the lights. In addition to this letter, one group of faculty also had a visual prompt posted in classrooms that requested that lights be turned off after specified class periods. Experimenters collected data by circulating through buildings and recording whether lights were left on or whether the room was occupied.

When faculty were sent a letter, there was an increase in the number of times the lights were turned off by 13% as compared to baseline data. When a sign prompt was posted in classrooms, lights were turned off 76% of the time, as compared to 70% during baseline.
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