Audits or Counts
Audits refer to undertaking counts, whether they are of fixtures, appliances, materials, or waste. The main types of audits in behaviour change programs relate to energy, water and waste.
Audits can be undertaken through home visits or through self-reporting done via a questionnaire.
Home visits are best used to collect information on one-off changes, such as the replacement of lights, installation of insulation, or such changes. It is harder to audit repetitive behaviours (such as turning off lights etc).
Waste audits usually refer to counts of litter in bins or on open ground. Litter counts can look at the number of items and the categorisation of items (eg. paper, plastic, wrappers etc) or it can look at the volume or weight of litter or recyclables.
Audits are usually taken before and after an intervention. Home visits audits therefore require significant resources in terms of time and labour. As such, audits may be best used for a small sample of participants as a means to complement other evaluation methods (eg. questionnaires and deemed savings).
Audits can be used to verify the reliability of other evaluation methods by comparing what people say (eg. questionnaires) to what people do. This may allow you to identify what the ‘fudge’ factor is with different types of evaluation methods.
Audits may also refer to asking for proof or verification for one-off behaviours such as the installation of solar hot water, insulation, GreenPower etc.
An example of a household audit template to be delivered via a phone interview is available here. The template is based on a behaviour change project that uses a home assessment that encourage householders to commit to two actions.