"...wider societal changes will be needed. [EI] Members emphasise the need for more engagement of energy consumers in the [energy] system. Adopting new technologies and shifting demand through behavioural change are seen as necessary on the consumers' side." Energy Barometer, Energy Institute..
Includes: Create more incentives for a change in behaviour to manage and allocate resources in a more sustainable manner: activities relating to the Decade should promote sustainable energy production and consumption so that energy resources are used in a more equitable manner.
Under the Energy Efficiency Directive, EU countries must set up an Energy efficiency obligation scheme
. This scheme requires energy companies to achieve yearly energy savings of 1.5% of annual sales to final consumers. In order to reach this target, companies need to carry out measures which help final consumers improve energy efficiency. This may include improving the heating system in consumers' homes, installing double glazed windows, or better insulating roofs to reduce energy consumption. This page gives links to pdfs showing what individual European countries are doing.
- offering free-of-charge mentoring and training activities in nine European countries. Funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Delivered in the UK by the Carbon Trust (see below)
European Environment Agency
This report provides a review of available literature on measures targeting consumer behaviour in order to achieve energy savings. It focuses on: Energy efficiency measures and behaviour change; structural factors - such as the impact of liberalisation and the energy mix and energy tariff structures; the rebound effect.
Department of Energy & Climate Change
The main objective was to answer this question by systematically reviewing the evidence around domestic behaviour change, with a particular focus on international evidence.
Behaviour Change and Energy Use
This paper draws on evidence from behavioural economics and psychology to outline a new approach to enabling people, at home and at work, to reduce their energy consumption and reduce their bills in the process. The Behavioural Insights Team has published a report setting out how we can use behavioural insights to help people save energy and money. The report, Behaviour Change and Energy Use, launches a series of trials and changes to government policy which will make it easier for individuals to green their homes and use less energy. DECC, 6 Jul 2011 (This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government)
An introduction to Thinking about ‘Energy Behaviour’: a Multi Model Approach. DECC, December 2011 "The purpose of this paper is to set out a number of different perspectives that can be used to understand and interpret behaviour. It sets these out within a framework that demonstrates how each approach can contribute something valuable towards developing a broad view of behaviour"
Behavioural Insights Team
(BIT) Previously part of the Cabinet Office, BIT is now jointly owned by the UK Government; Nesta (the innovation charity); and its own employees.it was the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioural sciences.
• making public services more cost-effective and easier for citizens to use;
• improving outcomes by introducing a more realistic model of human behaviour to policy; and wherever possible,
• enabling people to make ‘better choices for themselves’.
Carbon Turst estimates that workplaces could save £300 million a year through encouraging employees to adopt behaviours that reduce energy use and waste. This report outlines how to deliver a successful behaviour change campaign.
programme for young SMEs and startups Free energy efficiency consulting and mentoring for startups and young SMEs. Announced by BEIS on 14 July 2017, but not yet trading.
Carrots, sticks and sermons: influencing public behaviour for environmental goals. December 2003. This report from the think tank Demos "identified current thinking and best practice in the art of public influencing" and was designed to assist DEFRA.
Academic / Learned society / Trade Association
British Psychological Society (BPS)
Behaviour change: energy consumption
(pdf) Important to aim for organisational change as well as individual; changes need to be reinforced by feedback or they are gradually forgotten; people go for small rewards in the near future rather than bigger rewards later; default modes are accepted so, for example, the default should be lights are off and need to be switched on.
Energy Aware - An innovative 30-minute online tool focussed on raising energy awareness in the workplace, certificated by the Energy Institute
Understanding your energy culture is a new tool adapted from the well-known Understanding your (safety) culture tool. The Energy Institute has adapted the research and learning behind improving safety culture to improve energy management performance.
The EI eLibrary (an EI member benefit) contains millions of resources including ebooks, scholarly journal articles, and other research relevant to energy, with a large subset discussing energy consumption behaviour.
ESTA (Energy Services and Technology Association)
Dr. Carrie Armel
is a research associate at Stanford’s Precourt Energy Efficiency Center (PEEC) where she investigates the diverse ways in which an understanding of human behavior can lead to improvements in energy efficiency. Recent presentation: Behavior, Energy and Climate Change: A Solutions-Oriented Approach. Her focus is on what is happening in the USA and how to design equipment, buildings, urban layout, etc to influence behaviour into energy efficiency. Gives examples of schemes that have been successful in improving behaviour to increase energy efficiency.
“So to sum up the essence of this talk, if we want to realize the energy efficiency gains that are possible, it will take acknowledging that the problem is a design failure, not a people failure.”
ETHOS - Searchable database of doctoral studies from UK universities, including multiple on energy consumption behaviour.
Energy company initiatives
E.ON UK plc Affordable Warmth scheme
Free cavity wall insulation and free loft insulation for qualified households through the government's Affordable Warmth initiative.
RAC How to save fuel – the ultimate guide 14 Feb 2017 Reduce motor fuel consumption.
Front. Energy Res., 15 June 2015
Building Efficiency Initiative
Hunt Allcott Social norms and energy conservation Journal of Public Economics, 2011, vol. 95, issue 9, 1082-1095
This paper evaluates a programme encouraging residential energy users across the USA to reduce their consumption by telling them what their neighbours consume - estimated to reduce average energy consumption by 2.0% but with a range of 6.3% to 0.3%.
(Originally published July 2017; updated and links checked November 2019)