The water meters of 129 residences were read for 70 consecutive days. After five weeks of baseline, state-of-the-art education, feedback, and engineering interventions were applied according to the factorial design: 2(Education versus No Education) × 2(Daily Consumption Feedback versus No Feedback) × 2(Low Cost Conservation Devices versus No Devices). Significant water savings occurred following only the installation of low cost water conservation devices, although the amount of water saved with these devices (a daily average of 17 gallons) was much less than expected. The findings are discussed with reference to the development of cost-effective water conservation programs.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Adams, R.C., & Rockwood, A.D. Impact of improved building thermal efficiency on residential energy demand (Technical Report). Richland, Washington: Batelle—Pacific Northwest Laboratories, Contract DE-AC06-76RL01830 for the U.S. Department of Energy, May 1981.
Carlyle, J.Attempts to promote residential energy and water conservation. Unpublished masters thesis, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, 1979.
Evans, S.H., & Anastasio, E.J. Misuse of analysis of covariance when treatment effect and covariate are confounded.Psychological Bulletin 1968,69 225–234.
Geller, E.S. Evaluating energy conservation programs: Is verbal report enough?Journal of Consumer Research 1981,8 331–334.
Geller, E.S. The energy crisis and behavioral science: A conceptual framework for large scale intervention. In A.W. Childs & G.B. Melton (Eds.),Rural psychology. New York: Plenum Press, 1983.
Geller, E.S., Winett, R.A., & Everett, P.B.Preserving the environment: New strategies for behavior change. New York: Pergamon Press, 1982.
Hayes, S.C., & Cone, J.D. Reducing residential electricity use: Payments, information, and feedback.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 1977,10 425–435.
Hayes, S.C., & Cone, J.D. The reduction of residential energy consumption through simple monthly feedback.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 1981,14 81–88.
Heberlein, T.A. Conservation information: The energy crisis and electricity consumption in an apartment complex.Energy Systems and Policy 1975,1 105–117.
Hines, W.W., & Willeke, G.E. Public perceptions of water quality in a metropolitan area.Water Resource Bulletin 1974,10 745–755.
Huck, S.W., & McLean, R.A. Using a repeated measures ANOVA to analyze the data from pretest-posttest design: A potentially confusing task.Psychological Bulletin 1975,82 511–518.
Kohlenberg, R.J., Phillips, T., & Proctor, W. A behavioral analysis of peaking in residential electricity energy consumption.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 1976,9 13–18.
Morrison, B.M., Keith, J.G., & Zuiches, J.J.Impacts on household energy consumption: An empirical study of Michigan families. Report to the National Research Council's Committee on Nuclear and Alternative Energy Systems, National Academy of Science, 1978.
Moses, H. Personal communication with the co-inventor of the shower flow restrictor used in the present study, September 11, 1981.
Nietzel, M.T., & Winett, R.A. The relationship of demographics, environmental attitudes and time to energy conservation among two groups of people.American Journal of Community Psychology 1977,5 195–205.
Palmer, M.H., Lloyd, M.E., & Lloyd, K.E. An experimental analysis of electricity conservation procedures.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 1978,10 665–672.
Sazima, H., Johnson, R.P., Carlyle, J., & Geller, E.S.Attempts to encourage water and energy conservation. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Psychological Association, New York, September 1979.
Schindeler, N. Personal communication to W.E. Sharpe, 1977. (Cited in Sharpe & Fletcher, 1977).
Seaver, W.B., & Patterson, A.H. Decreasing fuel oil consumption through feedback and social communication.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 1976,9 147–152.
Seligman, C., & Darley, J.M. Feedback as a means of decreasing residential energy consumption.Journal of Applied Psychology 1977,62 363–368.
Seligman, C., Kriss, M., Darley, J.M., Fazio, R.H., Becker, L.J., & Pryor, J.B.Predicting residential energy consumption from homeowners' attitudes. Unpublished manuscript, Center for Environmental Study, Princeton University, 1977.
Sharpe, W.E., & Fletcher, P.W.The impact of water saving device installation on resource conservation (Research Publication 98). University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University, Institute for Research on Land and Water Resources, July 1977).
U.S. Department of Energy. The low cost/no cost energy conservation program in New England: An evaluation (Contract No. DE-AM0180CS21366). U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Buildings and Community Systems, Market Development Branch, 1980.
Winett, R.A., Kaiser, S., & Haberkorn, G. The effects of monetary rebates and feedback on electricity conservation.Journal of Environmental Systems 1977,6 329–341.
Winett, R.A., Neale, M.S., & Grier, H.C. The effects of self-monitoring and feedback on residential electricity consumption.Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis 1979,12 173–184.
Winett, R.A., & Nietzel, M. Behavioral ecology: Contingency management of residential energy use.American Journal of Community Psychology 1975,3 123–133.
Winkler, R.C. Behavioral economics and water conservation. In E.S. Geller, R.A. Winett, & P.B. Everett,Preserving the environment: New strategies for behavior change. New York: Pergamon Press, 1982.
Winkler, R.C., & Winett, R.A. Behavioral interventions in resource management: A systems approach based on behavioral economics.American Psychologist 1982,37 421–435.
This research was supported by Grant No. SPI-8003981 from the National Science Foundation. The authors are sincerely grateful for professional advice from Drs. Richard A. Winett and Jerard F. Kehoe, and for the special data collection efforts of Lisa Barnett, Steven Churchill, Edward Fleder, Lisa Paterson, Susan Pelton, Stephen Rodock, Jeffrey Shilling, Kenneth Spitz, and Elizabeth Talbott. Reprint requests should be addressed to Scott Geller, Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061. All booklet, questionnaire and information materials used in the study are available upon request from the first author.
About this article
Cite this article
Geller, E.S., Erickson, J.B. & Buttram, B.A. Attempts to promote residential water conservation with educational, behavioral and engineering strategies. Popul Environ 6, 96–112 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01362290
- Factorial Design
- Water Conservation
- Residential Water
- Engineering Intervention
- Engineering Strategy