Community-Based Social Marketing (CBSM)
In a world of 280-character tweets, people have limited attention spans. So to nudge them toward making energy efficiency upgrades, home assessment reports need to grab their attention in the first few pages, according to ACEEE research that evaluated the eye-tracking habits of potential customers.
It’s not just about money. People invest in home energy upgrades for a variety of reasons, including reconstruction after heavy storms. Our new report explores their motivations and unveils, based partly on a representative survey of nearly 2,000 homeowners, the best strategies for encouraging them to invest in energy efficiency.
Why do some people take action to reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprints while others do not? Environmental psychologists, behavioral economists and other social scientists have all investigated this question, and come up with a variety of answers.
Our new guide helps separate the Pikachus from the Digletts of energy efficiency behavior-change programs
In the energy efficiency world, programs that reduce energy use by targeting human behavior are relatively few, but proliferating quickly. In 2013, some US states claimed as much as 28% of their energy efficiency savings from behavior change programs. Like Pokémon Go characters in the wild, some behavior change programs are common, well-known, and seen everywhere. Others are rare and largely unknown.
In my college dormitory, there was a large, bright poster in the basement laundry room. The poster encouraged us to always use the “cold” setting on the washing machine in order to save energy. It probably cited an EPA figure that 90% of energy used in laundry goes toward heating water. As an environmental science major, I dutifully used the cold cycle already, but I remember noticing that most of my classmates did not.
When trying to change behavior, posters alone don’t work.
The ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-run Behavior Programs, released in December, is the first comparative analysis of utility-run behavior programs. Practitioners, evaluators, and regulators can now use the guide to design and assess strategies and develop policies for utility-run behavior programs. The problem has been that, when state and local stakeholders thought about creating behavioral programs, they would encounter barriers.