This focus area includes research into methods of energy technology adoption, consumer behavior change and the implementation of a cutting-edge Extension-outreach program.
The CELS Kathleen M. Mallon Outreach Center, as a part of the Land Grant system, has a wealth of experience in design and implementation of educational programs that achieve true behavioral change among stakeholders. Extension and outreach programs are designed with the knowledge that to change the social and cultural values surrounding energy use requires more than just "laying out the facts." Education must create opportunities and incentives for behavior change that lead to more efficient use of energy. These opportunities and incentives can include:
The CELS Kathleen M. Mallon Outreach Center recognizes that effective extension-outreach initiatives work with specific audiences, as opposed to communicating with the "general public". In the areas of sustainable horticulture, the Center has well-established programs that target each individual audience involved in landscape management, from the nursery business where plants are grown, to retail outlets, horticultural professionals, backyard gardeners and government policy makers. This same approach can be used with the energy issue. Individual outreach programs will begin by building a relationship with the audience or stakeholders. This relationship will reflect an understanding of the knowledge needs of the audience as well as their learning and delivery preferences. That understanding is used to design a program that promotes behavior change.
Each outreach initiative also identifies specific measures that can be used to describe change and impacts, to provide feedback to individuals and sponsors and to inform program design.
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