The Implementation of Set-Back Thermostats and Social Diffusion in Twin Rivers, New Jersey

Darley, J. M., & Beniger, J. R. (1981). Diffusion of energy-conserving innovations. Journal of Social Issues, 37, 2, 150-171.
Summary
After conducting a literature review, a time -controlled set-back thermostat was used as an innovation to reduce energy consumption. Residents in a three-block area in Twin Rivers, New Jersey were contacted by mail and asked if they were interested in participating in a pilot program. Those who responded were sent a questionnaire. Based on the information obtained, several households were selected to implement a pre-programmed set-back thermostat in their homes. The amount of energy savings was then measured. It was anticipated that households would reduce energy consumption by 10%.

It was anticipated that households would reduce energy consumption by 10%. However, actual energy savings with the set-back thermostats were 18-47%. Based on results obtained, there are several conditions needed for social diffusion. First, it is necessary for residents to feel the implementation is essential to solving a negative situation. Furthermore, diffusion will occur through social as opposed to spatial networks. That is, acquaintances are more likely to be interested in the innovation as compared to neighbors.
Results
Site Courtesy of
McKenzie-Mohr & Associates

Expertise in Community-Based Social Marketing