Nonprice incentives and energy conservation.
- Author(s): Asensio, Omar I
- Delmas, Magali A
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1401880112
In the electricity sector, energy conservation through technological and behavioral change is estimated to have a savings potential of 123 million metric tons of carbon per year, which represents 20% of US household direct emissions in the United States. In this article, we investigate the effectiveness of nonprice information strategies to motivate conservation behavior. We introduce environment and health-based messaging as a behavioral strategy to reduce energy use in the home and promote energy conservation. In a randomized controlled trial with real-time appliance-level energy metering, we find that environment and health-based information strategies, which communicate the environmental and public health externalities of electricity production, such as pounds of pollutants, childhood asthma, and cancer, outperform monetary savings information to drive behavioral change in the home. Environment and health-based information treatments motivated 8% energy savings versus control and were particularly effective on families with children, who achieved up to 19% energy savings. Our results are based on a panel of 3.4 million hourly appliance-level kilowatt-hour observations for 118 residences over 8 mo. We discuss the relative impacts of both cost-savings information and environmental health messaging strategies with residential consumers.