BSc (Finance) University of South Florida, MBA (Int’l Business) University of Queensland, PSM Environmental Science Oregon State University
Heather has a Bachelor of Science (Finance) from University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA and an MBA in (International Business) from University of Queensland, Brisbane. She worked in sales, banking, auditing, marketing, and management consulting for 15 years. Then she chose to pursue her passion and commenced a Professional Science Master of Environmental Science (water resources and conflict management) from Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA in which she worked on community environmental conservation research projects. In her spare time Heather volunteers with several community and environmental organisations to help communities and the environment. She also enjoys connecting with people, meditating, facilitating healing, nature, ecstatic dance, and artistic projects.
Linked In: linkd.in/1bYuWr4
Heather Hill: PhD Abstract
Connecting to Self, Community, and the Environment: Energy Conservation Coaching Program for Households Living on a Low-income
Extensive efforts by governments, researchers, and educators have been undertaken to reduce household energy use as it is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. The challenge of reducing energy is particularly difficult for households living on a low income, where distinctive infrastructural, financial, and institutional factors affect energy conservation. These factors limit the implementation of energy conservation interventions for this group. In attempting to conserve household energy, the most widely used interventions employ external motivators such as energy-related feedback, social comparisons, and financial incentives. However, interventions based on external motivators have been shown to weaken autonomous motivation that is linked to lasting behavioural change (Deci & Ryan, 2000). SDT is an established theory that has been applied in numerous domains and shown to be effective at fostering internalisation and integration of lasting changes in people’s values, self-concepts and behaviours and their motivation, growth, and well-being (Deci & Ryan, 1985). SDT posits that people have inherent psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness, which can be enhanced or prevented by socio-cultural factors. However, practical applications of these findings in energy are rare. Therefore, the objectives of this research are threefold: (1) examine practicing therapists’ effective methods they used to facilitate changes within self-determination theory to provide insights into developing a framework for an energy conservation coaching program for households on a low-income; (2) explore Brisbane renters’ experiences, needs, values, and life satisfaction; opportunities and challenges to saving and using electricity; and their opinions on what a useful electricity savings program would look like; and (3) evaluate a community based energy conservation coaching program for households living on a low-income. Initial findings from therapists’ insights into an effective coaching program within SDT reveal that peoples’ situation, empathic relationships with group, creating a sense of community, peer-mentoring, facilitating self-reflection, focusing on strengths and abilities, and enhancing skills are necessary attributes to consider when developing an energy conservation coaching program for households living on a low-income.