Community Energy Conservation: A Review

Michael J. Marshall
Stuart Oskamp

DOI: 10.2190/2Q4X-8H19-8BG3-95P3


The research literature relevant to energy conservation at the community level is examined. Although conservation at this level has a high potential for energy savings, relatively few communities have been successful at implementing community-wide conservation programs. Some major social psychological principles that are associated with the successful implementation of community-wide energy conservation are examined. Conditions conducive to community conservation are: 1) the perception of a major imminent environmental threat; 2) conservation programs designed to be consistent with community values; 3) receptive political leaders; 4) community participation; and 5) the availability of resources. Two general frameworks for community energy conservation efforts have been proposed. The Comprehensive Community Energy Management Program was field-tested and major findings are reported. The second, the Energy Conserving Community Plan, is a conceptual framework based upon the history of successful antilitter campaigns. Although there are major methodological problems to contend with in evaluating community energy conservation programs, certain preliminary public policy recommendations are derived from the available literature and enumerated.

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