Dr. Chien-fei Chen will speak at the SLC Seminar on March 27th, 2015 at 12:20 pm in Min H. Kao, Room 524. The title of her presentation is "Are You a Free-rider? Beyond Technology: Improving Energy Efficiency through Social-Psychological Approaches in the Public Domain."
Abstract: Improving residential energy efficiency behaviors is generally complicated; yet it is an even greater challenge in the public domain. In the context of office, commercial or industrial buildings, employees typically are not responsible for utility costs and thus have less financial motivation to keep track of and reduce energy use. Moreover, appliances and facilities are often shared among coworkers, which inhibit the development of a sense of individual responsibility. While technological innovations and tighter environmental regulations are essential preconditions for improving energy efficiency, growing literature argues that social behavioral factors require more attention. Particularly, in workplaces where employees’ behaviors are easily observed and a high degree of social interaction exists, the psychological and group-dynamic aspects of energy conservation should be given more attention. This talk will address the advancement of social scientific perspectives in energy research by focusing theories of public goods, norms, message framing and social-psychological factors affecting energy efficiency behaviors in workplace and other public domain.
Bio: Dr. Chien-fei Chen received her M.A. in Communication and Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington State University. Her research interests include social norms, social networks and environmental psychology. Dr. Chen currently leads the project of social impact of grid technology and also serves as the director of education and diversity at the NSF-DOE Engineering Research Center, CURENT. In addition, she leads the sustainable education effort for NSF-Research Coordination Network (RCN) in Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainablitity (SEES). Prior to her academic career, Dr. Chen worked in television and public relations for six years.