Carbon Challenge competitors

Challenge winners will receive free energy audit for their home

Students at Chico State have taken on a project that will test a hypothesis about what it takes to get individuals to use less energy in their daily lives.

The “Chico Carbon Challenge” employs real-time energy-use meters to examine how people change their behaviors when they have second-by-second data on energy consumption. The meters have been installed in two sorority houses, two fraternity houses and several housing units at University Village, and the data will be transmitted to the students through their Facebook accounts.

The study is funded by SAP (the largest inter-enterprise software company in the world), and is overseen by Scott McNall, of the Institute for Sustainable Development, who has helped the students come up with a set of four hypotheses about what is most likely to change people’s behavior when it comes to energy use: 1) a commitment to the planet; 2) competition with friends resulting in reward; 3) wanting to be like others; or 4) cost savings.

The winners of the challenge will receive a free energy audit of their living space, which will allow them to make changes that will cut energy costs in the future.