Warwick Business School (WBS) in the UK has hosted a competition that will see students develop new and different energy-saving ideas incorporating ‘nudge theory’.
Nudge theory is a concept that uses theories from behavioural science to influence people’s everyday choices and decision-making.
Inspired by collaborative computer programming event Hackathon, Nudgeathon will encourage teams to present innovative ideas that would help change the behaviour of people so that they can start reducing their energy use.
Students from 24 countries will be divided into teams of six and will be offered a crash course in ‘nudging’ to develop interventions to persuade people to take measures to reduce electricity consumption such as loft insulation.
WBS PhD student and Nudgeathon coordinator Umar Taj said: “We need to reduce the energy we use and that includes influencing the behaviours that determine the amount of energy that we all consume.
“The Nudgeathon will bring together students from across a wide range of disciplines and degree levels and really encourage teamwork and togetherness to achieve something that may have a genuine impact on people’s lives.”
The UK business school has collaborated with energy supplier First Utility, Recycling Technologies and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Storage, Transformation and Upgrading of Thermal Energy (i-STUTE) for the competition and will offer a £500 prize to the winning team.
WBS behavioural science professor Daniel Read said: “The Nudgeathon will bring creative and ambitious people together and provide them with the information and skills they need to design their own nudges.
“The winners could well see their idea implemented on the University of Warwick campus, which is roughly the size of a town with 30,000 people with an energy bill of more than £8m a year emitting roughly 43,000t of greenhouse gases.”
As part of the competition, the teams will have to present their ideas on one of the three challenges, which involve reducing energy used as heat, reducing energy used by appliances and devices, as well as reducing hot water consumption.