Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference is the premier event focused on understanding behavior and decision-making with respect to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability. BECC 2013 brought together over 600 participants to share new research, discuss innovative policy and program strategies, build networks, and find potential partners for collaboration.

The BECC Conference is convened by the Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC) at Stanford University, American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), and California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) at the University of California, Berkeley.

BECC brings together a range of academics, practitioners, and policy-makers from a variety of fields engaged in energy and climate efforts in order to provide the latest and most relevant behavioral research, best practices, and methodologies. The organizers value abstracts from all relevant disciplines concerned with human behavior, society, and culture, especially work from applied anthropology, social psychology, behavioral economics, organizational behavior, political science, communications, and the cognitive sciences.

For the 2013 conference, BECC presenters had the opportunity to submit peer-review quality papers to be published here via eScholarship in order to increase the visibility and impact of the BECC conference and reach new scholars across our wide range of disciplines. eScholarship is an open access digital publishing service for conferences, research units, and publishing programs.

Cover page of Household activities through various lenses: crossing surveys, diaries and electric consumption

Household activities through various lenses: crossing surveys, diaries and electric consumption


The analysis of household energy consumption usually involves the description of technical systems and of people behaviors. This work focuses on the relationship between people activities, appliances use, and electric consumption. It relies on the application of a wide range of measurement tools on a unique sample of 60 households in France. Overall, questionnaires, diaries, and measured consumption provided a consistent description of the intensity and time of use of the three appliances studied. However, variations were found, depending on the indicator and appliance studied. The levels of activity derived from the diaries and consumption show large differences. However, they can be explained based on reasonable assumptions on the differences in the nature of the activities. Most importantly the variations in the intensity of use across households are consistent among the three measurement tools. This result allowed a partial description of the role of the frequency and duration of use, appliances features and energy saving gestures in the final energy consumption. In terms of methodology, this study shows that, questionnaires can provide consistent information on the relative level of energy consumption by household, while diaries provide reliable information about when this energy is consumed, supporting the use of the large scale and wide spread “Time Use Surveys” to model the diversity of power demand in Europe and America.

Cover page of Persistence of Energy Efficiency Behaviors over Time: Evidence from a Community-Based Program

Persistence of Energy Efficiency Behaviors over Time: Evidence from a Community-Based Program


Rather than providing incentives for the one-time purchase of technologies, behavior change programs rely on low- or no- cost actions to save energy and reduce demand. These actions must be sustained over time in order to be effective. Therefore, understanding the persistence of energy-saving actions is critical to incorporating behavior change programs into utility energy efficiency program portfolios. Unfortunately, there are few studies that have examined persistence of energy-saving actions over time.

This paper provides new results from an evaluation of a community-based energy efficiency program showing sustained energy efficiency behaviors over an 18-month time frame. Actions were sustained despite limited program follow-up and no financial incentives. The program, which is designed to encourage community members to commit to saving energy by signing a pledge form, uses a multi-pronged approach to reach out to as many community members as possible, and reinforces messages by relying on a variety of marketing efforts. These efforts include mass marketing, outreach at community events, and contests. Using a panel study with a random sample of pledgees, evaluators were able to ask pledgees about their energy-savings behaviors four times over the course of 18 months.

Results showed that participants conducted low-cost and no-cost actions, and they sustained these actions over time. Participants most commonly reported taking the following actions since pledging: switching off lights, switching off electronics, installing energy efficient lights, using computer power management, changing thermostat settings, and using a clothesline rather than a clothes dryer. Respondents who could recall their pledge were more likely to conduct their pledged action(s) compared to those respondents who could not recall their pledge. Furthermore, “high recallers” completed a significantly greater proportion of pledged actions compared to “low recallers.”

This paper includes a description of the program model, detailed results related to sustained behaviors over time, and recommendations for encouraging persistence and implementing behavior change programs. The authors also offer recommendations for setting up tracking systems early in the program launch to facilitate a more detailed understanding of pathways to program participation and behavior change.