Unintended Consequences Project
2011-09-22 23:54:42 UTC
Steve Mital (University of Oregon), Bart Meehan (Australian National University) and I are working on a new project in which we're looking to collect stories "from the field" about well-designed sustainability projects that ended up having unintended consequences (see below for a few examples of what we mean). Our plan is to collect, categorize and draw lessons from as many stories as we can find. If you have a story you'd like to share with us, please send short write-ups (250 words) either to Steve Mital (email@example.com) or to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), preferably no later than Dec. 20th. Your anonymity will be protected, of course. For more details, please visit http://sustainability.uoregon.edu/office-sustainability/unintended-consequences-project
[apologies for any cross-listing]
Oops: Unintended Consequences Of Good Design
We learn from our mistakes
1. Enhancing the morning experience
A university recently installed a grey water system in a new residential complex that reuses water from showers and kitchens in the buildings toilets. It should have prevented clean city water from being flushed down the toilets, but it didnt work out that way. Instead, water use surged. On investigation, staff found that residents from other buildings were going out of their way to use the grey water toilets. Why? Because the recycled water still had some residual warmth from the showers, enhancing their morning experience. The environmental benefits also enticed many to add a morning trek to the morning call.
2. Welcome to the neighborhood
A major new green skyscraper was designed with shiny facades to reflect sunlight, reduce solar gain, and lower cooling loads. It worked, kind of The neighboring skyscrapers experienced increased solar gain and had to turn up their air conditioners to combat it.
3. Its like a sauna in here
A new apartment-style residential building on a major university campus included room-level metering intended to change behavior by making energy use a direct expense. It certainly changed behavior. Maintenance staff noticed the chipboard cabinets were warping. Why? Instead of turning up their thermostats and paying for the electricity a number of clever students ran their showers (because they were not charged for hot water) and steam-heated their rooms.
University of Oregon
Behavior Change/Climate Change Linkages, Case Studies
2008-08-13 22:18:15 UTC
My name is Ezra Markowitz, and I am a graduate student at the University of Oregon working for the Institute for a Sustainable Environment on a project that is seeking to identify, collect, organize and summarize as much literature (published, unpublished, in- house reports, etc.) as I can find that focuses on the greenhouse gas emission reduction potential associated with 'behavior change.' We are interested in everything from individual/household intervention studies to organizational/institutional behavior change campaigns, and are looking across a number of GHG-producing domains (e.g., energy use, consumption, transportation). Essentially we are looking to answer the following question: what quantitative and/or case studies exist that show how a change in behavior leads/led to reduced GHG emissions or, as surrogates, less energy use, less use of fossil fuels, lower resource consumption, etc.? The key is that we are not looking for theoretical gains that would be made if a behavior were changed, but rather, what changes have successfully been made (and quantified) in changing behavior and what was the GHG-relevant outcome associated with that/those change(s). I have been scouring the published literature for relevant studies, and now I am turning to all of you for help to continue the search not only for published work I may have missed but also for relevant case studies, of which I believe there may be many. I know there are many on this listserv who work directly with implementing environmental behavioral change campaigns and interventions, and I am hoping that some of you may have reports, news stories and other sources of useful and pertinent information for this project. Our goal is to collect as much information as we can and then share the results as widely as possible. We hope that this project can be beneficial to many who are working towards improving and increasing sustainable behavior in many domains. Please send me any questions you might have about the project.
Thank you in advance,
Doctoral Program in Environmental Science,
Studies, and Policy Focal Department Psychology
University of Oregon
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