LIT HoMES (Leveraging Individual Transitions into Homeownership to Motivate Energy Savings) (2014-2015)

As a person moves into homeownership for the first time, there are a variety of decisions for him or her to make about the new dwelling and lifestyle, new information to process and new challenges, including the need to engage with a range of utility bills that may or may not have been previously encountered. During this period, educational information regarding household energy use and potential savings could be provided. Some local organizations have begun to develop programs for people at this stage. But we do not yet know enough about the optimal ways to engage the diverse array of people that comprise first-time homeowners regarding energy behavior.

This project team organized a summit of local government and nonprofit organizations to explore this critical transition point and developed feasible strategies for communicating with people transitioning into home ownership about energy-saving tips and recommendations. Over 40 people attended the summit, including representatives from government, academia and the nonprofit and commercial sectors.


Fall 2014 – Spring 2015

Team Outcomes

Brian G. Southwell, Elizabeth M. B. Doran, and Laura S. Richman, editors. 2016. Innovations in Home Energy Use: A Sourcebook for Behavior Change. Research Triangle Park, NC: RTI Press.

Project LIT HoMES: Leveraging Individual Transitions into Homeownership to Motivate Energy Savings (poster by Brian Southwell, Laura Richman, Liz Bloomhardt Doran, Nicholas Garafola, Amitpal Singh, Jordan Thomas, Lauren Harper, Brandon Ellis)

LITHomes Innovation Summit (February 20, 2015)


Lauren Harper

Liz Doran

Nicholas Garafola

Amit Singh

Jordan Thomas

This Team in the News

Book Review of Innovations in Home Energy Use: A Sourcebook for Behavior Change, in Energy Research & Social Science vol. 17, July 2016, 169-170

Spur Action on Energy Efficiency with These Creative Ideas from a Behavior Expert

New RTI Press Book Encourages Homeowner Energy Saving Using Behavioral Science

Building Connections between Duke and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

LIT HoMES Learns from Informal Science Experts: A Visit with Dr. Erika Shugart

Science + the Public + Experts + Dialogue = A New Kind of Learning

Project LIT HoMES Finalizes Mission Statement and Plans for February Homeowner Summit

Energy Initiative at 4: New Gains, New Goals, New Era for Energy Research, Education, Engagement

See earlier related team, Communicating about Energy in the Triangle: Engaging Students and Local Partners to Improve Household Consumption (2013-2014).

Team Leaders

  • Laura Richman, School of Medicine-Population Health Sciences
  • Brian Southwell, Social Science Research Institute

/graduate Team Members

  • Elizabeth Doran, Mech Engg/Materials Sci-MS
  • Nicholas Garafola, Master of Environmental Management, Energy and Environment
  • Amitpal Singh, Master of Environmental Management, Environmental Economics/Policy
  • Venkata Sai Sriram Vepuri, Computer Science-MS

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Brandon Ellis, Mechanical Engineering (BSE)
  • Lauren Harper, Civil Engineering (BSE)
  • Jordan Thomas, Environmental Sci/Policy (AB)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Mayme Webb-Bledsoe, Office of Durham & Regional Affairs