Fostering a net-zero mindset on campus

Written by
Woman standing in garden
Denise Valenti, Office of Communications
Dec. 21, 2021

Princeton University is embarking on an unprecedented program of installing a new system of energy-saving and combustion-free technologies powered by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. At the same time, the University is assessing its campus culture around energy use to further reduce energy demand and promote a conservation mindset.

To foster this mindset, the University has engaged Evidn, an international behavioral science company, to support the design, delivery and evaluation of pilot initiatives across campus. The goal is to reduce energy consumption and contribute towards the attainment of Princeton’s sustainability goals.

Evidn is collaborating with Princeton scholars to research factors that may inhibit successful energy transitions globally and to devise interventions that could facilitate the adoption of new energy technologies. Evidn is also engaging postdocs, graduate students and undergraduates in thinking through behavior around energy use and developing solutions.

“Figuring out the interplay between energy systems and behavior, between infrastructure and personal action, is part of the vanguard in sustainability thinking,” said Shana Weber, director of Princeton’s Office of Sustainability. “And working at the demonstration scale is essential. Any successful methods that emerge may very well be repeatable and scalable.”