I travel often for work and stay in hotels. I have observed that with no direct incentive, it's often hard to stay motivated to make such sustainable choices as taking shorter showers, running the A/C less, etc.
Sure enough, research indicates that when homeowners are empowered to read their electric bill, or given regular reminders of the amount of electricity that they use, they tend to reduce their consumption:
- "Reduction of residential consumption of electricity through simple monthly feedback"
- "Effects of self-monitoring and feedback on residential electricity consumption"
- "Reducing household energy consumption: a qualitative and quantitative field study"
- "The impact of informational feedback on energy consumption—A survey of the experimental evidence"
This last paper is a meta-analysis of 12 studies in Europe and North America covering utility pilot programs where in-home displays (IHDs) of electricity consumption information were implemented. The authors state:
Our review indicates that the direct feedback provided by IHDs encourages consumers to make more efficient use of energy. We find that consumers who actively use an IHD can reduce their consumption of electricity on average by about 7 percent when prepayment of electricity is not involved. When consumers both use an IHD and are on an electricity prepayment system, they can reduce their electricity consumption by about twice that amount.
Would this finding translate to hotels? To what extent? Why or why not?
Let's assume that technological and legal challenges to such a system are minimal -- first it makes sense to determine if it could have the desired effect, before looking into implementation.