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Promoting Sustainability in residential buildings through behavioral science

Feb 08, 2023 Views 3966



Promoting Sustainability in residential buildings through behavioral science:

Sustainability and healthy living are becoming essential for residents in UAE. However, adopting new sustainable technologies and behaviors can be challenging. This is where behavioral science can play a crucial role.

By understanding the underlying psychological and social factors that influence residents' behavior, residential buildings can create an environment that supports and encourages sustainable living. One way this can be achieved is by promoting energy-saving habits, such as turning off lights and appliances when not in use and reducing water usage as well as promoting recycling and waste reduction. To further support sustainable living, residential buildings can create a sustainable environment through incentives such as rewards or monetary incentives that can be used to encourage and reinforce sustainable behaviors.

Behavioral science can be leveraged with residents to test new sustainable tech & find ways to make it stick into their daily lifestyle. Once the behavioral barrier is overcome, the residents will find themselves immersed in the new sustainable way of life. They would not want to go back to.

Behavioral science can help in promoting sustainability and healthy living in residential buildings in several ways:

·         Understanding Habits: Mapping people' routines and habits is the first step in improving sustainability. The study of behavior can point out how sustainability can be practically integrated into daily life. It will also further entail figuring out how these sustainable practices and technologies would be made available and how to integrate sustainable habits into a person’s daily routine. For instance, at Maimoon Gardens, we would work closely on data analytics mapping a homeowner’s lifestyle impacting health, energy consumption and basic day to day needs, which will further assist us to optimize and incentivize the usage of the best sustainable practices within the development. A Maimoon Gardens homeowner would also be able to see their personal analytics to further optimize their personal lifestyle in terms of health benefits and cut back on energy consumption costs.

·         Nudging: Nudging is a key tool in the behavioural scientist's toolkit. By using small reminders and prompts, such as posters or signs reminding residents to conserve energy, behavioural science can help residents adopt more sustainable behaviours. Nudging can also be personalized to individual residents, for example, by providing customized feedback on their energy consumption through smart meters or energy usage dashboards. Maimoon Gardens has implemented a unique approach by implementing a leaderboard, which showcases the names of residents who exhibit sustainable behavior. This serves as a source of motivation for others in the community to adopt similar practices, promoting sustainability positively and inclusively.

·         Social Norms: Social norms can be powerful drivers of behavior. By creating a sense of community and highlighting the positive impact of sustainable behavior, residents may feel more encouraged to adopt sustainable practices. Residential buildings can create this sense of community by organizing events or activities that promote sustainability and healthy living, or by recognizing and celebrating residents who have made significant contributions to sustainability. Maimoon Gardens cultivate this sense of community through the organization of events or activities centred on sustainability and healthy living. Additionally, recognizing and honoring residents who have made notable contributions to sustainability can further encourage the adoption of such practices. 

·         Incentives: Incentives can also be effective in promoting sustainability. For example, offering rewards for reducing energy consumption can help residents adopt more sustainable behaviours. Residential buildings can offer incentives such as lower utility bills, access to exclusive amenities, or recognition for residents who have made significant contributions to sustainability. Maimoon Gardens has taken a unique approach by offering reward points as incentives for engaging in sustainable activities, such as reducing energy consumption, effective and planned waste management and participating in sustainable initiatives in the form of Incentive points namely – MG Points. These points can be redeemed at the green house coffee shops, health club amenities, EV charging usage points, etc. providing residents with tangible benefits for their sustainable behavior.

·         Design: Design can be important in promoting sustainability and healthy living. By incorporating sustainable design principles into residential buildings, residents may be more likely to adopt sustainable behaviors. This can include incorporating features such as energy-efficient lighting, efficient HVAC systems, and water-saving technologies. Maimoon Gardens represents a model of sustainable design, embodying cutting-edge sustainable features such as a Smart Home Automation system, efficient HVAC systems, air and water purification systems, a waste management system that operates at an optimum level and a greenhouse with a radiant cooling system all of which provide and promote a cyclical economy within the building. These features are seamlessly integrated to achieve an advanced level of sustainability.

·         Education: Education is also an important tool in promoting sustainability and healthy living. By educating residents about the benefits of sustainability and healthy living, behavioural science can help change attitudes and increase understanding of the importance of these behaviours. Residential buildings can offer workshops, demonstrations, and other educational programs to help residents learn about sustainability and healthy living. At Maimoon Gardens, besides the above-mentioned educational and workshop activities, would also with it’s integrated-ai-enabled systems give feedback for energy and water usage and educate on consumption patterns, reduction and benefits for the same.

Building on the point on Education:

·         What’s the impact of the new lifestyle on the resident family, community, country and globe? as a sustainability-focused resident combating climate change?

·         Do residents know how to separate wet and dry waste?

·         Drive & charge electric cars?

·         Plant different types of plants on the balcony wall and greenhouse?

·         Do residents know how RO water compares to bottled water (sodium, TDS, calcium)?

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