What is behavior change?

Human behavior plays a key role in whether efficient equipment is purchased, installed, and properly used. Behavior also impacts the amount of energy used by technologies installed in a home, business, or plant. Successfully changing people's energy use behavior can result in estimated savings between 4 and 12 percent. Yet for multiple reasons, people often don’t make the most energy efficient choices. Broken cigarette in the palm of the hand Source: iStockphoto

Other fields facing similar challenges—such as public health, psychology, and sociology—have already learned a great deal about motivating people to act in a way that benefits them. For example, behavioral approaches have been used so successfully in tobacco cessation that smoking rates dropped from 42 percent to just 19 percent in the past 50 years, sparing countless would-be smokers from the devastating health effects of heart and lung disease, cancer, and stroke. It turns out the same techniques that help people quit smoking or lose weight can also help them make choices that bring them the benefits of energy efficiency.

CEE is at the forefront of leveraging the same approaches used successfully in public health and other fields to encourage decisions leading to efficient use of energy. Choices that will leave people with lower energy bills, more comfortable homes and businesses, and lower facility operation costs.

CEE Behavior Work cuts across sectors and program types. For those new to this topic, the Behavior FAQ attempts to answer some basic questions about behavioral approaches to energy efficiency. To delve deeper, you may find Behavior Resources useful as well.