Changing behavior presents an opportunity to make big efficiency gains in a way that also happens to be low cost. For instance, one study estimates that programs that provide people with feedback on how much energy they use—just one of many behavioral approaches—can reduce energy use from 4 to 12 percent. Many other behavioral techniques are just as promising.
Additionally, applying behavioral techniques to promoting energy efficiency frequently benefits programs in other ways. The increased person-to-person engagement in many behavioral programs often improves overall customer satisfaction. For example, one Canadian member utility sees a two to three percent increase in customer satisfaction each time they implement one of their community efforts. Such additional perks of behavioral approaches make them a win-win for customers, utilities, and the environment.
While simple conservation actions such as turning off lights when leaving a room are a great start, inspiring consumers and business owners to install new weatherization measures or upgrade to more efficient equipment also goes a long way towards saving customers money and improving comfort.
Conservation and efficiency go hand in hand with increased comfort and productivity. A residential customer who adds insulation to his home enjoys a less drafty, cozier indoor environment. A plant manager who more effectively manages the energy use at her facility can improve her bottom line.
Though techniques for measuring savings continue to evolve, existing data indicate that behavioral changes can have a measurable impact. For instance: