Lights Out! The Effect Of Green Building Certification And Pro-Environmental Prompts On The Lighting Behaviors Of Dormitory Occupants
In recent years a variety of methods have been utilized to minimize our global reliance on fossil fuels in an effort to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs), including CO2, released into the environment. Administrative controls to minimize the release of gases, including intergovernmental agreements, federal and regional legislation, and Voluntary Emission Reductions (VERs) programs, have been a major focus among political and organizational leaders, while engineering controls to reduce the initial usage of fossil fuels in daily activities have been more of a focus at the consumer level. In the U.S. among the building industry, both administrative and engineering controls have been utilized through several reduction mechanisms. The aim of this research was to determine the impact that the United States Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System's (LEED) had on occupants' fossil fuel consumption, specifically related to artificial lighting usage measured in carbon footprints, in two student dormitories. The research also investigated whether LEED certification influenced an individual's participation in efficiency and curtailment behaviors to reduce lighting energy consumption and to test potential improvements to the program. This study compared the lighting usage of ten participants living in either a LEED certified dormitory or similarly designed and built non-LEED certified dormitory, situated on a university campus. The additional potential for lighting consumption reduction was tested by exposing participants to a lighting conservation prompt, which was a sign. Lighting usage was measured for each participant over a two-week period, and data was extrapolated to find the Estimated Annual Lighting Carbon Footprint (EALCF) for each participant. Additional data was collected in an attempt to understand other variables that may have influenced the outcome of the study. Results showed that LEED certification reduced a participant's EALCF, however, signage only impacted the EALCF in situational conditions. Results indicated building certification, the male gender and the fewer number of luminaires available to the participant resulted in a reduction of available luminaire wattage. Additionally the source of the luminaire also impacted the available wattage and the total kilowatts used by each participant. The university-supplied luminaires were lower wattage than the personally supplied luminaires and were more utilized in both buildings. Luminaire usage was also positively and negatively impacted by a combination of variables including LEED certification, number of luminaires and prompt signage. Results indicated individuals with only university supplied lighting within their rooms had much lower EALCFs than those that had university and personally supplied lighting. This study also found no effect on EALCF based on previous and current pro-environmental beliefs and behaviors. In conclusion, the LEED certification did have an impact on overall lighting usage for the participants in this study. Prompting signage was only found to have an effect when combined with other variables. Additional variables were recommended for investigation in future research including the impact of the possible engineering controls on the type of lighting installed and the impact of creating administrative controls limiting the type of lighting allowed within LEED certified buildings to further reduce energy consumption. This data could be used to create more robust studies to understand the full impact of the LEED program and uncover additional ways to increase occupant participation in the program.
LEED; Lighting; Prompts
Elliott, John R.
Master of Science
dissertation or thesis