dsweeney October 13, 2008

Hi All

I am working on a project looking at methods of evaluating behaviour change projects targeted at the residential sector. The aim of the project is to develop a tool-box of evaluation methods (both qualitative and quantitative) that can be used by local governments (i.e, they need to be simple to implement and not too costly). As a first step, I am looking at the literature (journals, case studies etc) to see what is best practice, including constraints of different types of methods.

From my early readings, both qualitative and quantitative have their constraints (eg. self-reporting bias, etc). With behaviour change projects, especially those that receive government funding, there is a big focus on demonstrating savings in hard numbers (metering). However, metering has its limitations; for example, energy metering changes cannot be necessarily linked to a behaviour, as there is no observational data (though self-reporting can be linked). Are there examples of behaviour change projects that use newer types of "smart meters" that provide more accurate data (such as time of use, zoned metering), and if so, are there particular brands of meters used, and is it costly to do so? Are there other sources of information that you know of that compare different types of evaluation methods? Interestingly, going through different case studies, such as on the CBSM and Tools of Change website, most of the project evaluation tend to show positive results; does this reflect that only successful case studies are put up on the web, or is there pressure to demonstrate positive results in behaviour change projects (to receive further funding, justify the project, or whatever reason)? If all projects were positive in changing behaviour, surely we would not be facing the problems we are facing today, as those successful projects would have been scaled up to change the behaviour of the masses? Appreciate your thoughts, comments, direction, and input.

Damien Sweeney

Project Manager -
Community & Business Sustainability
National Centre For Sustainability
Swinburne University of Technology
369 Stud Rd, Wantirna VIC 3152
Tel: (03) 9210 1289
Fax: (03) 9210 1913