Behaving Ourselves: How Behavior Change Insights Are Being Applied to Energy Efficiency Programs
Date PublishedAugust 1, 2010
While there is growing interest in applying behavior change to the energy efficiency context, there is often a great deal of uncertainty about how behavior strategies are incorporated, or could be incorporated, into efficiency programs and what tools may be useful in this work. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) membership recognized the potential benefit of gathering information on behavior change in the context of ratepayer-funded energy efficiency. To this end, CEE and its members have developed an overview of behavior insights from across the social sciences that could be incorporated into efficiency efforts, with examples of programs applying those insights. A goal of this effort was to facilitate information exchange between program administrators and provide the necessary resources to those incorporating behavior approaches into their programs. This paper will describe a wide variety of behavior insights potentially applicable to the energy efficiency program context, provide examples of efficiency programs that have already begun to apply these insights, and explore some untapped opportunities to achieve energy savings through behavior change. CEE members have already incorporated numerous behavior insights into their programs, such as social norms, feedback, public commitment, and goal setting. Yet other key insights, such as self-efficacy, cognitive dissonance, and loss aversion, have gone largely underutilized in energy efficiency up to this point. Future participation in and effectiveness of energy efficiency efforts would likely benefit from the application of these additional insights.