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Motivating Energy and Resource Conservation Behavior by Gamification
Mentor: Dr. Daqing Hou
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering

Efforts to reduce energy consumption and conserve resources often suffer from several significant informational deficits. Costs for energy use are generally socialized and cannot be easily attributed to a single person. Additionally, principal-agent problems occur when the person paying for resource use is not the same as the agent using it. Other information and transparency deficiencies include deferred and incomplete information, lack of connection between actual use/behavior and cost, and accrual problems in which no specific action is perceived as being costly-yet overall use is too high. To mitigate these problems, the Smart Housing Project at Clarkson University is investigating the effects of two motivational interventions, visualization of consumption data as well as personal environmental and energy values. These interventions are based on the real-time resource consumption data collected via a dense array of sensors that were installed in each apartment in two student residence buildings. Based on this established infrastructure, this project will further investigate using gamification as an additional motivational intervention. Gamification is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context to engage users and solve problems. One or more REU participants are invited to work with Dr. Hou on gamifying energy and resource consumption to engage students in conservation behavior.