In the last two years, the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE) managed nine white papers on behavior and energy that were funded by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). In order to determine what should be done in the future in the area of behavior and energy, CIEE conducted a survey in the Fall of 2009 to assess the value of these papers, see how these papers have been used and are planning to be used, and determine what additional activities should be conducted in the area of behavior and energy (e.g., more white papers or other activities).
Many of the respondents felt that the papers were beneficial and useful. The papers represented an extraordinary resource that could be accessed over time for guidance in designing, implementing, and evaluating policies and programs. The papers also reflected cutting edge research that highlighted big ideas, raised questions regarding existing energy policy and programs, and kept them informed on progress in the areas of behavior and energy efficiency.
Many respondents had already made use of the papers for: general inspiration; training staff; referring to the papers as part of a research study, scientific article, or a proposal; and increasing their understanding of how technology is applied in the market to guide research projects, and of the increasing role of behavioral motivation in energy efficiency. Respondents have also used the papers for: reviewing study methodologies and proposals; supporting recommendations in comments or filings in public proceedings; and making product feature recommendations. Respondents have also used these papers for: designing, developing and evaluating pilots and marketing and outreach strategies; conducting energy savings potential studies; and conducting academic research (e.g., using experimental designs). Finally, many respondents planned to continue their current use of the papers (as noted above) and to explore other opportunities, such as: developing program and speaker ideas; building networks of resources for policy makers and program implementers; and strategic planning.
Most respondents felt that another set of white papers was needed. The list of potential papers was lengthy and diverse. And several respondents provided suggestions for improving the preparation, marketing, presentation, and utilization of the white papers.
Several respondents provided suggestions for conducting other activities, besides preparing more white papers, in the area of behavior and energy. One key activity was presenting the information from the white papers more widely by discussing the topics in workshops, conferences, webinars, and journal articles. Another key activity was conducting research and demonstrations of behavioral motivation principles, especially designing, testing, and evaluating programs using experimental program design, and funding research topics that were identified in these white papers.
In conclusion, the respondents felt that additional white papers, field research, and outreach activities should be supported by the CPUC in ensuring that behavioral issues are integrated in the implementation of energy efficiency programs.