Project at a Glance
Project Status: active
Title: A field experiment to assess the impact of information provision on household electricity consumption
Principal Investigator / Author(s): Kahn, Mathew E.
Contractor: UC Los Angeles
Contract Number: 08-325
Research Program Area: Climate Change
Topic Areas: Behavioral Change
Residential energy consumption accounts for a substantial portion (14 percent in 2002-2004) of Californiaís greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the Boardís recently-approved Scoping Plan identifies voluntary actions as well as residential energy efficiency as key components of the Stateís strategy to meet a 2020 GHG emissions goal equal to the 1990 baseline. To meet the 2050 goal of 80 percent reductions in GHG emissions, dramatic shifts in the ways residential consumers of goods, energy, and services choose and use technologies will be necessary. Thus, both near-term and 2050 GHG emissions targets require substantial behavioral changes. Historically, behavioral change measures have received relatively little support as an energy management strategy, due largely to lack of information regarding their effectiveness as well as inadequate means of evaluating outreach programs, the effects of which may reach beyond direct program participants via peer-to-peer networking. The proposed study addresses these gaps by: (a) probing the impact and cost-effectiveness of programs designed to reduce residential energy consumption; and (b) probing the role of peer-to-peer communication in motivating energy conservation behaviors to be undertaken by non-participants in the outreach program. The proposed study involves a randomized trial of three household interventions that target reduced residential consumptions through provision of information on (i) relationships between appliance use and electricity consumption; (ii) how the tiered electricity pricing system works; and (iii) potential savings associated with energy efficiency investments. Analyses will gauge whether and to what extent the interventions succeed in reducing residential electricity consumption, which of the three information treatments is most effective, and what, if any, spillover effects occur among peers identified by participants. Study results may help ARB, utilities, and/or other stakeholders design and evaluate programs to reduce residential electricity consumption.
For questions regarding research reports, contact: Heather Choi at (916) 322-3893
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