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EEA Investigates Behavior Change to Increase Energy Savings

10 April 2013: A report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) finds that targeted interventions in consumer behavior can deliver energy savings as high as 20%.

The report, titled "Achieving Energy Efficiency through Behavior Change," bases its conclusions on a review of the academic literature in three main areas: energy efficiency measures and behavior change; dynamic pricing, energy tariff structures, the smart grid and other structural factors; and the rebound effect.

It finds that behavior change is most effective when combining different kinds of measures to change consumer behavior. Various measures are detailed in the report, including direct feedback through, for instance, smart metering, as well as enhanced billing and other forms of indirect feedback. Energy audits and community-based initiatives were found to deliver the greatest potential energy savings.

The report indicates the importance for effective energy efficiency policies that account for the influence of social factors, such as age, social norms, and economic status, on the adoption of consumption patterns among different groups in society. It also concludes that, while energy efficiency policies might cause a certain amount of rebound in energy use, they are unlikely to exceed the benefits of such policies.

The EEA has launched an online survey in order to obtain the opinions of energy users on financial incentives, information provision and other measures proposed in the report. The survey will remain open to the public until 17 May 2013. [EEA Press Release] [Publication: Achieving Energy Efficiency through Behavior Change] [EEA Survey]