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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 tenth year and is associated with a growing set of allied conferences in Europe and Asia.

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

The 2016 BECC conference, held October 20-22 in Baltimore, 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 The U.S. on 10-15 kWh/day

The U.S. on 10-15 kWh/day


How much energy savings are possible from behavior change alone, absent significant retrofit investments?  A testing of this question motivated this residential case study, with over a decade’s worth of data. The test residence was the lead author’s roughly 2,500 sf vintage 1980 house in southeastern Pennsylvania, which doubles as his office.  During periods of single occupancy, energy usage averaged about 8 kWh and 2 ccf of gas per day, saving roughly $2,000 per year relative to typical residences of similar type and size.  With fuller occupancy, the figures were 14 kWh and 2 ccf.  This was achieved with old, low-efficiency HVAC equipment (12 SEER central air conditioner and 78% AFUE furnace) and minimal to non-existent comfort sacrifices.


How could consumption be this low?  Behavior change was the key driver – specifically, aggressive use of the set-back thermostat, very conscientious deployment of windows, shades, a whole-house fan, etc., coupled with conventional low-cost energy conservation measures, such as CFL and LED lighting.


Is this model widely replicable?  It may be, but it would require training of household members and may not be readily amenable to third-party profiteering.  Could utility house call programs integrate behavioral training for residents, using tested behavioral change theories as part of conventional energy audits?  In the age of climate change, deep savings are being sought from existing homes, but it may not be realistic to achieve them cost-effectively without considerable resident cooperation.

Cover page of Commercial Strategic Energy Management: Approaches and Best Practices

Commercial Strategic Energy Management: Approaches and Best Practices


It is a well-known adage that focused intent gets results! Nowhere is this more relevant -- or more important to the efficiency industry -- than in well-organized and implemented Strategic Energy Management (SEM) programs. SEM programs build lasting partnerships among program administrators and their customers and empower the customers to make smart energy decisions for their facilities. Focused on operational and process improvements, on identifying untapped capital projects and on people engagement, SEM efforts lead to deeper and long-term savings. As SEM begins to take hold in the market, similarities and differences are beginning to show up between program administrator efforts. Navigant conducted a Commercial SEM Best Practices study for a leading mid-west utility to identify the key drivers to success and approaches to effectively engage varying customer types or needs. This presentation will focus on study findings from the in-depth research and interviews with leading SEM program providers around the country. Our findings address the advantages and limitations of various Commercial SEM program models and targeted business types. The study identifies the elements and strategies that are critical to successfully implementing an SEM program, including project planning, people engagement, persistence of commitment, and measurement and verification. We also present a roadmap for program implementation and operation in the form of a best practices logic model, drawn from interviewees, which program administrators can use as an example to design and operate their own SEM program.