Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Human Ecology

Major Professor

Mary Jo Hitchcock

Committee Members

William T. Snyder, Robert Bohm, John Ray, Roy Beauchene


In 1978, expenditures for energy resources represented approximately 8% of the total operating budget in food service facilities (Barclay, 1979; Skaggs, 1980). Due to increasing energy costs, erratic availability of energy supply, environmental restrictions, federal and state regulations, energy management programs take on special significance. Energy management programs, which can include energy audits, frequently lead to a 10-30% reduction of energy consumption and subsequent cost reductions (Snyder and Symonds, 1977; Shirley and Turner, 1978). The audit permits an opportunity to determine potential energy conservation opportunities (ECO's). The purposes of this study were to determine the extent of exposure to energy audits in selected hospital dietary departments and college/university food services; to identify major barriers to implementation of ECO's in these facilities which have been exposed to audits; to establish the reasons why barriers exist which prevent directors of these facilities from implementing ECO's; and to establish reasons why energy audits have not been conducted in these facilities. The above objectives were intended to assist federal, state, and local energy policy makers in understanding and overcoming these barriers to implementation of ECO's.

Three hundred and seven energy conservation questionnaires were sent to 212 hospitals and 95 colleges/universities which were randomly selected from North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. A followup letter and questionnaire were sent to the facilities not responding within a designated period of time.

Thirty-four percent of the facilities responded to the questionnaire. Approximately 23% of these respondents had conducted an energy audit. Respondents from the nonaudited facilities were not familiar with an energy audit or did not have someone on staff qualified to carry out an audit. The replies seem to indicate that energy information and training need to be made available by government organizations and trade and industry associations.

The results indicated that 69.8% of the recommended ECO's had been implemented. The major barriers to implementation of these ECO's were cost of equipment, expense of borrowing money, lengthy payback period, and production schedule interruption. This survey provides data that could be utilized by energy policy makers to understand and overcome these barriers to implementation of ECO's.

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