Sustaining Sustainable Behaviours of Citizens by Creating Value in Their Everyday Life
Time: Wed 2023-02-15 14.00
Location: Kollegiesalen, Brinellvägen 8, Stockholm
Subject area: Industrial Ecology
Doctoral student: Aram Mäkivierikko , Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik
Opponent: Professor Giulio Jacucci, University of Helsinki
Supervisor: Associate Professor Fredrik Gröndahl, Vatten- och miljöteknik; Associate Professor Olga Kordas, Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik; PhD Hossein Shahrokni, Hållbar utveckling, miljövetenskap och teknik
Over 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions derive from household consumption patterns. To reach the 1.5-degree target set in the Paris Agreement, new interventions to influence household behaviours are needed. This thesis examined two areas, household electricity consumption and waste sorting, where behaviour plays a large role. To change behaviour, households need information and feedback regarding their consumption, but in an era of information overload it is difficult to reach individuals. This thesis explored whether households can be better reached by a service that creates value for its users, so that feedback is noticed and acted upon over a sustained period. Specific objectives were to: (1) identify needs of citizens that could be addressed with a local digital service and develop such a service; (2) design and develop elements of the service to promote selected sustainable behaviours affecting household electricity consumption and household waste sorting; and (3) evaluate whether these elements can improve awareness of sustainability matters and promote pro-environmental behaviour among residents.
To fulfil objective (1), a local social network for neighbourhoods was designed and developed. A phone survey in Stockholm Royal Seaport confirmed low neighbour interaction, while focus group interviews in Hammarby Sjöstad identified specific local information and communication needs. To fulfil objective (2), a subset of design principles identified from the literature was used to design feedback for the local social network. The feedback was developed into a prototype through workshop and focus group discussions. To fulfil objective (3), residents were provided with feedback and interventions in two pilot studies in Stockholm, a 15-month study on electricity consumption involving 281 students at KTH and a 12-month study on waste sorting involving 61 households in Stockholm Royal Seaport having an automatic waste collection system. The study on electricity showed a 3.3 %-unit peak-hour reduction for the intervention group and 46 %-unit reduction for saving participants. Average participation in peak load reduction was 3 months, but some stayed for almost the entire period, indicating potential for long-term engagement. Incentives were not necessary, but improved outcomes. The waste study found increased plastic sorting among app users, but also challenges in data collection and analysis. Overall, the value-creating approach can be useful if user needs are met correctly, and reaches a larger user group with feedback than conventional energy apps.