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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference is the premier international conference focused on understanding human behavior and decision making so that this knowledge can accelerate the transition to an energy-efficient and low-carbon future. BECC is currently in its ninth year and is associated with a growing set of allied conferences in Europe and Asia.

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

The 2015 BECC conference, held October 18-21 in Sacramento, includes over 200 plenary, spotlight, panel, lightning and poster presentations. Accepted speakers are eligible to submit papers for publication in this Conference Proceedings.

Cover page of Renewable Energy, Infrastructure and GHG Implication of Electrified Transportation: Metro Vancouver Case Study

Renewable Energy, Infrastructure and GHG Implication of Electrified Transportation: Metro Vancouver Case Study


This study is aimed to assess the fleet composition for the new portion of light and medium duty vehicles (LMDV) in Metro Vancouver forecasted for the year 2020. Accordingly, the analysis evaluates the sensitivity of the regional electricity demand on transportation electrification policies. Considering electricity and hydrogen as transportation infrastructures, sixteen scenarios of zero tailpipe emission Electric Vehicle (EV) penetration in the new fleet are investigated. The study assesses the efficiency of EV technologies, quantifies energy demand for the electric transportation, and summarizes the implications of using renewable electricity to power the transportation sector.

The analysis shows that wind energy is the superior resource in terms of life cycle Greenhouse Gases (GHGs). The life cycle GHGs of electricity production via wind turbines ranges from 390-3000 tonnes yr- 1 and for photovoltaic cells from 1300-9900 tonnes yr-1 of CO2eq across the scenarios. Furthermore, it is observed that 92% to 96% of life cycle greenhouse emissions could be reduced by deploying zero emission vehicles, which utilize solar or wind energy as a renewable resource. In this category, battery electric vehicles enable larger energy efficiency. Moreover, the results show that in order to respond to FCEV demand by 2020, the number of on-site hydrogen refueling stations should vary between 3 and 62, across different scenarios. The electricity demand to power these stations ranges from 32 to 248 GWh yr-1 which translates to annual production of 5 to 37 wind turbines with 2.24 MW of rated capacity, or alternatively 0.2 to 1.6 km2 of photovoltaic cell surface.

Cover page of Strategic Energy Management.  Keys to Behavioral and Operational Change.

Strategic Energy Management.  Keys to Behavioral and Operational Change.


This paper presents the results of an evaluation of Energy Trust of Oregon’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) initiative.  Commercial SEM is designed to deliver comprehensive energy services to large, typically multi-site, customers through behavioral and operational changes, while also identifying potential capital projects.  This paper addresses both process findings and an analysis of savings estimation techniques.    

The evaluation sought to ensure that the initiative was achieving claimed savings at a reasonable cost and to provide feedback on program design and implementation. This meant both investigating the methods used to calculate savings and understanding how participants had incorporated energy saving policies and practices into their standard operating procedures.


Key operational findings included:   

SEM takes time if organizational changes are to be implemented. A cohort approach, using multiple workshops with representatives from 5-10 organizations, appears to be effective in engaging participants and encouraging behavioral and operational change.


Findings relating to the savings methodology included: 

Standardized regression analysis techniques are an acceptable means to determine savings. When regression analyses are used, savings should be calculated using a baseline of the operation immediately preceding program participation, whenever possible.    Regression analyses should be clearly organized and link operational changes to reduced energy use. Linear extrapolation from limited data to project annual savings often induces significant error. Therefore, savings claims should be limited to observed savings to improve accuracy. If savings claims must be extrapolated based on limited data, these analyses can be supplemented with heating or cooling models to improve accuracy.

Cover page of Characterizing Customer Preferences:  How the Doritos® Nachos Method Works for Electricity Service Plans

Characterizing Customer Preferences:  How the Doritos® Nachos Method Works for Electricity Service Plans


Residential electricity customers typically pay the same rate all day every day for electricity. These customers get the caviar of on-peak electricity for the same price as the canned tuna off-peak electricity. Utilities are considering offering customers variations in rate structures, such as time-of-use pricing, to reduce on-peak electricity use. But how will utilities know how to design electricity service plans that customers will choose? EPRI researched approaches for determining stated preferences for hypothetical offerings and determined that discrete choice experimentation (DCE) would be more effective than market segmentation. Many commercial product manufacturers use DCE for product development. A classic case is the development of the addictive snack, Doritos® Nachos. To test the DCE approach, EPRI embarked on research with several utilities to develop discrete choice experiments for selected electricity service plans (time-of-use and fixed bill, compared to the status quo flat rate) and test them in utility territories. Surveys were developed with a well-tested informational piece to describe the different options. Over 1000 surveys were administered with an average uptake of 38%. The results were used to develop choice models, and then a market share model. The results are statistically significant and can be used to identify likely participants and how to market to them. The results may be used by utilities to design new offerings with confidence in participation by their customers. Results will be shared in this presentation as well as plans for expanding the method to preferences for customer technologies.

Cover page of Co-designing with office workers to reduce energy consumption and improve comfort

Co-designing with office workers to reduce energy consumption and improve comfort


According to the EC Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, a reduction of up to 30% in energy use within the office and commercial building sector can be achieved through occupant behavior change. Multiple studies support similar estimations for countries outside of the EU (e.g. Lopes et al. 2011). Depending on the building type, office occupants can perform various low energy actions to increase office comfort (e.g. Barlow & Fiala, 2007). However, sustained behavior change ensuring energy-efficiency may be difficult when not embedded and enforced in everyday office practices.

This paper describes an approach based on co-creation methods as a means to engage office occupants to make them conscious of the impact that their actions have on comfort and energy use by reflecting on results from measurements and observations. Methods to create awareness include co-designing of a monitoring platform, self-reporting mechanisms and feedback systems, enabled by modular hardware and an adaptable software platform. Through the co-design process supported by engineers and designers, occupants define ways of how sensor monitoring, self-reporting and feedback displays can be introduced into their office environments to stimulate and guide their energy-efficient and comfort-efficient actions in the context of everyday office practices.

The co-design approach is currently being deployed and evaluated in an ongoing study, which is being conducted in three large office buildings, each involving an experimental and a control group. Co-design workshops have demonstrated the value of involving office workers in exploring how best to involve stakeholders across various functions in the organizations. Office occupants were found to be particularly motivated towards improving comfort, which can act as a pathway to shaping energy behavior.

Cover page of Why Doesn't 25 Years of an Evolving Energy Code Make More of a Difference?

Why Doesn't 25 Years of an Evolving Energy Code Make More of a Difference?


New and more stringent building energy codes are implemented with the assumption and expectation that significant energy conservation will occur. While simulation and various analysis methodologies may be reasonably sound at estimating the energy impact, the actual impact is largely dependent upon new code enforcement and occupant behavior. This work is based upon the research question: Do homes built to a newer energy code deliver measurable energy savings compared to homes built to a much earlier energy code? This residential research study was focused on comparing measured energy use of new code to old code homes. The new code group represented homes built to the 2007 Florida energy code, with 2009 supplement. The old code group were built to the code in effect from June 1, 1984 to Dec. 31, 1985. Energy monitoring equipment was installed to measure whole house, space heating/cooling, and domestic hot water energy use. Interior temperature and relative humidity were also monitored. Using utility bill and end-use monitored data, savings for the new code homes were determined to be 13% for cooling energy, 39% for heating energy, and 5% for domestic hot water energy. The overall annual energy savings of space heating, cooling and domestic hot water were 13%. This paper presents the methodology of the research along with reasons why the measured savings are far less than predicted by simulations of homes built to the two codes. The results may be useful in policy decisions or evaluating the long-term implications of residential building energy codes.