Reaching the “High-Hanging Fruit” through Behavior Change: How Community-Based Social Marketing Puts Energy Savings within Reach

White Paper


Michelle Vigen and Susan Mazur-Stommen


Community-based social marketing (CBSM) is a concept that has received a lot of attention lately, but may not be particularly well understood across the entire energy efficiency community. This white paper is the first in a series of ACEEE papers discussing insights drawn from the social and behavioral sciences in order to advance energy-efficient behavior and choices. The goal of the ACEEE Behavior Program in providing these white papers is to afford program developers, implementers, and evaluators greater ease in selecting among the rapidly proliferating social science-based ideas that have taken root across the industry in the past decade. ACEEE is not arguing in favor of any one particular approach. 

In this paper, we will unpack and describe the core concepts and application of CBSM generally, citing specific and recent examples of its use within energy efficiency and demand-side management programs.  We will conclude with an illustration of how CBSM might be used to encourage uptake of home energy retrofits.