Nonprice incentives and energy conservation

Asensio, O. I., Delmas, M. A.

We investigate the effectiveness of nonprice incentives to motivate conservation behavior. We test whether tailored information about environmental and health damages produces behavior change in the residential electricity sector. In a randomized controlled trial with real-time appliance-level energy metering over 8 mo, we find that environment and health-based information strategies outperform monetary savings information to drive energy conservation. Environment and health-based messages, which communicate the environmental and public health externalities of electricity production—such as pounds of pollutants, childhood asthma, and cancer—motivated 8% energy savings versus control. This strategy was particularly effective on families with children, who achieved 19% energy savings. However, we do not study the persistence of these behavioral changes after the conclusion of the study.

Published Work | 2015 | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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