For several years, I’ve been writing about, working in, or incorporating behavior change methods to encourage energy conserving behavior.
And I guess this post is to say: Don’t let up. We haven’t gotten there yet…perhaps not by a long shot.
In our bag of goodies, we have new arsenal: thermostats that beg us to interact (such as Google’s Nest), smart meter interval data available at our finger tips (see Pepco’s My Account), home displays that happen on our phone (see the latest example in the news), and games among games to play with our family and community to encourage reducing energy.
A survey from KSVC, a marketing firm that appreciates the challenge of this task, has revealed that we’re not too far from where we were back in 2012. Essentially they found:
“…higher utility bill is easier to cope with than the price of a solution.”
In other words, we haven’t made it harder to cope with a higher utility bill than implementing a solution (whether technological or behavioral). “Energy efficiency” in the home is still a technology, not a state or category of behavior.
What energy efficiency means to us is:
- 53% – Energy Efficiency means efficient products and/or technology.
- 20% – Energy Efficiency means an expensive investment.
- 16% – Energy Efficiency means conservation.
- 10% – Energy Efficiency means not measurable savings.
Maybe it’s still about the words we use (as I noted from Dougherty’s work several years ago). KSVC tried using the term “energy saving solution” and apparently we found that to mean something different:
- 35% – Energy Savings Solutions means easy-to-implement, DIY tips.
- 32% – Energy Savings Solutions means financial savings.
- 23% – Energy Savings Solutions means conservation.
- 8% – Energy Savings Solutions means immediate savings.
What does this mean for those trying to nudge greater energy savings out of our community? We need to continue to find the most salient ways to approach the concept of conservation, find ways to ingrain behavior into habits, and continue to build the social norm by making the invisible visible and sharing stories about one another. In other words, it’s back to the basics of community based social marketing.
Keep on, keeping on….
Read more about KSVC’s survey and their work at: http://www.ksvc.com/blog/2015/3/5/customer-perceptions-of-energy-efficiency-may-surprise-you