Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


2012 Behavior Change for a Sustainable World Conference

Event Details

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Panel #18
CE Offered: PSY/BACB
Making Environmental Legislation More Acceptable and Effective: Ideas From Behavior Analysis
Sunday, August 5, 2012
9:00 AM–10:20 AM
Senate Chamber
Area: CSE; Domain: Applied Research
CE Instructor: João Claudio Todorov, Ph.D.
Chair: João Claudio Todorov (Universidade de Brasilia)
SIGRID S. GLENN (University of North Texas)
BRIAN KAISER (Ohio Environmental Council)
RICHARD F. RAKOS (Cleveland State University)
INGUNN SANDAKER (Oslo and Akershus University College)

The purpose of this session is twofold: a) to analyze how the if-then contingencies spawned by environmental legislation and policies affect the behavior of energy producers and consumers; and b) to identify creative, pragmatic applications of behavior principles to make future legislation and existing policies more effective. The primary case example will be Ohio’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (SB 221). Enacted in 2008, this law created one of the strongest renewable energy and energy efficiency standards in the country. The bill requires utilities to generate an increasing percentage of their energy from renewable and advanced energy sources. Each of Ohio’s four investor owned utilities (AEP, Duke, Dayton Power and Light, and FirstEnergy) has approached this requirement differently, but all have begun making the transition to a clean energy future. As an outcome, wind farms and solar arrays have sprung up across the state. In 2011, Ohio saw the largest increase in installed wind capacity in the country (928%), and the state currently ranks sixth in the nation in green jobs (105,306).

While clean energy sources like wind and solar have gotten much of the attention, energy efficiency requirements in SB 221 have also driven job growth, saved customers money, and reduced pollution. In just four years, these energy efficiency investments have saved customers over $100 million. Energy efficiency programs implemented in 2009-2010 by three of Ohio’s four utilities saved enough energy to power 181,000 homes for a year.

Despite the overwhelmingly positive benefits that energy efficiency measures have for consumers, many hurdles remain before widespread adoption is seen. Among these challenges:

  • Upfront costs: Consumers may not have the funds necessary to invest in efficiency or may be unable to access funds through traditional mechanisms due to bad or lack of credit, or reluctance to take on more debt.
  • Opportunity costs: Even when energy savings from an efficiency project are clearly greater than the up-front cost, efficiency project investments compete with other investments.
  • Lack of knowledge: Many householders are simply not aware of the opportunities or benefits of energy efficiency. If they are, they often have incorrect perceptions of what measures are most effective in increasing the efficiency of their home and lack understanding of the payback time of various measures.
  • Split incentives: Landlords have little incentive to improve their properties’ energy performance if tenants pay the energy bills. Aside from reductions in their utility bills, there is little incentive on behalf of the renter to fund improvements to the property that ultimately benefits the landlord.

Audience members will be invited to join the panelists and presenter in brainstorming how the application of behavior change principles can result in more effective utility efficiency programs by producers and a higher rate of adoption by consumers.

Conference attendees who plan to participate in this breakout session are asked to add this event to their personal schedules (below) to help with discussion planning.


João Claudio Todorov, Ph.D., is professor of psychology at the Universidade de Brasília. His publications include a book of readings, 10 chapters in books, and 80 articles. He was editor of Psicologia: Ciência e Profissão and of the Brazilian Journal of Behavior Analysis and served on the editorial board of the Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, Mexican Journal of Behavior Analysis, Behavior and Philosophy, and Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa.

Sigrid Glenn is Regents Professor of Behavior Analysis, emeritus, at the University of North Texas. Her research interests encompass behavior theory and philosophy, behavioral and cultural evolution, verbal behavior, and instructional design and technology. She is co-author of four books and dozens of articles and book chapters. Although her early research was mainly in applied areas, she is widely recognized among behavior analysts for her later conceptual work on selection at behavioral and cultural levels. Dr. Glenn has served as editor of The Behavior Analyst and on the editorial board of several other journals. She is a former president of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (1993-1994) and one of its founding fellows as well as a fellow of the American Psychological Association and its Division 25.

Brian Kaiser is director of green jobs & innovation at the Ohio Environmental Council. Brian brings to the OEC a background in government and non-profit innovation, clean energy workforce development, and grant administration. Prior to joining the OEC, Brian served as a community development analyst with the Ohio Department of Development where he was responsible for administering a $16.8 million federal grant portfolio. Brian also served as the green jobs coordinator for Lucas County where he led efforts to develop and implement several innovative programs, including the Toledo-Lucas County Green Jobs Partnership, Live Green Save Green Lucas County, and the Toledo-Lucas County Sustainability Commission. Brian holds a B.S. in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Toledo. Brian is the former vice president of the Lake Erie Western Alliance for Sustainability and an advisor to the Renewable Energy Technology program at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

Richard F. Rakos received his BA (1972) in psychology from SUNY Stony Brook and his MA (1975) and PhD (1978) in psychology from Kent State University. He is professor of psychology and associate dean for faculty in the College of Sciences and Health Professions at Cleveland State University. He has published extensively on assertive behavior and social skills, behavioral self-management, cultural-behavioral analyses related to societal change, and belief in free will. Dr. Rakos edited Behavior and Social Issues for 11 years and currently serves as consulting editor for BSI. He recently rotated off the editorial board of Law and Human Behavior after 10 years of service, twice served on the editorial board of The Behavior Analyst, and for many years served as co-chair of Behaviorists for Social Responsibility and as area coordinator for the Community Interventions, Social and Ethical Issues track on the ABAI Program Committee. He is a fellow in APA and on the Advisory Board of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.

Dr. Ingunn Sandaker is professor and director of the research program “Learning in Complex Systems” at Oslo and Akershus University College, Norway. She is director of the Ph.D. program in behavior analysis and the master's program in the Department of Behavioral Science. She received her Ph.D. in 1997 at the University of Oslo. Her thesis evaluated a systemic approach to major changes in two large companies: one pharmaceutical company and one petroleum company. During the Norwegian Olympic Committee’s preparations for the Sydney and Nagano games, she was head of evaluation of a program aimed at extending female participation in management and coaching. Serving as a consultant on top level management programs in Norwegian energy companies, she has interests focused on management performance and se

Instruction Level: Basic
Target Audience:

BACB-certified behavior analysts and licensed psychologists.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of this session, participants should be able to do the following:

1.      Analyze how the if-then contingencies spawned by environmental legislation and policies that affect the behavior of energy producers and consumers.

2.      Identify creative, pragmatic applications of behavior principles to make future legislation and existing policies more effective.

3.      Brainstorm how the application of behavior-change principles can result in more effective utility efficiency programs by producers and a higher rate of adoption by consumers.



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