Behavior and the Human Dimensions of Energy Use

courtesy of Flickr user lindseyta

This is a growing area of research and activity for customer energy efficiency programs. Behavior is clearly a cornerstone of energy efficiency: it affects the purchases we make, the buildings and systems we design, and how we use energy-consuming equipment.

To leverage technology and practices for greater savings, energy professionals can use social science to understand both how customers use energy and how programs can benefit customers. This goes beyond simply providing information. Understanding how customers think about their energy use can help programs select technology and engage participants in reducing their energy use through energy efficiency improvements.

Considering energy users as members of communities and social networks suggests some possible approaches. Communicating about social norms – showing customers how their energy use compares to others’ – can lead to energy savings. Programs also use many other approaches, including tapping into social networks, encouraging participants to educate and compete with each other, and providing incentives and recognition.

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Reprinted from Energy Independence Sol-Utions with permission.

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