The Behavioral Program staff at ACEEE is pleased to announce today’s publication of Trusted Partners: Everyday Energy Efficiency Across the South. We used a case study approach at sites in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana and talked with people in small towns and big cities, in their homes, on their farms, and about their businesses. Each interview included a core set of questions about demographics and basic energy use attitudes for a general picture of energy consumption in the South. During our fieldwork, we collected about 60 hours of audio from formal interviews alone!
One of our overarching questions was, “Are end-users of energy in these states interested in energy efficiency?” Among the people we talked to, the biggest take-away from this project is YES! Consumers of energy in the South are interested in practicing energy efficiency. The Southerners we talked to also told us that what they need to advance energy efficiency is a neutral source of trustworthy information about what activities best suit their needs and specific contexts.
We believe that there is a large undiscovered potential for energy savings in the South and that behavior change is one of the keys to unlock it. Savings realized from investing in energy efficiency can be directed towards other needs within a community, and that payoff continues long into the future. Through our focus on people and their everyday energy use practices, we hoped to refine the conversation about energy efficiency in the South. By looking at a cross-section of the South, from rural to urban, and covering a variety of sectors, including residential, commercial, agricultural, and transportation, we have been able to craft some real-world recommendations to meet their needs.