The persistent effectiveness of online feedback and controls for sustainability in the workplace


Office workers tend to waste energy at work due to little motivation for saving energy. This study investigates the effectiveness of online feedback (e.g., self-monitoring, advice, comparison) and control strategies (e.g., online remote control, scheduled control) that can promote voluntary energy conservation in the workplace. Eighty office workers were divided into four groups, and feedback and control interventions were field-tested for 9 months. Baseline data was collected for 14 weeks; different interventions were given to the four groups for 13 weeks and then removed from the groups for 11 weeks. During and after the interventions occurred, the groups that had online controls achieved more energy savings than the groups that had no online controls. While there were no statistical energy savings with computer usage before and after the intervention, the monitor, light, and phone devices showed significant savings as a result. Surveys and interviews were also conducted after the experiment to learn the participants’ behavior and intentions. The findings discussed are based on their responses.

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This study was supported by the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub Consortium (, a US DOE Innovation Hub, Subtask 6.4) under the US Department of Energy Award Number EE0004261.

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Correspondence to Ray Yun.

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Yun, R., Aziz, A., Lasternas, B. et al. The persistent effectiveness of online feedback and controls for sustainability in the workplace. Energy Efficiency 10, 1143–1153 (2017).

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  • Online feedback
  • Online control
  • Behavior change
  • Energy dashboard
  • Workplace