Behavior Change Programs: Status and Impact

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Behavior change programs are becoming a common method for reducing energy consumption and increasing energy efficiency. But what types of programs are out there, why do they work (or fail to work), and how effective are they? This report updates the 2013 ACEEE Field Guide to Utility-Run Behavior Change Programs, with new program evaluations, an analysis of major behavior change strategies, and a focus on programs with evaluated energy savings. We surveyed 296 recent reports, academic studies, and program evaluations, and had more than 60 personal communications with program administrators, energy program managers, and other experts. The report will help program administrators understand the variety of behavior program options that are available to them, and the degree to which they successfully change behavior and save energy.

Energy Efficiency Is Key To Taking On Climate Change—Here Are The Numbers That Matter

Read the full story in Fast Company.

Energy efficiency isn’t as sexy as inventing new, cleaner forms of power. But, if you care about climate change, you really ought to care about it. Efficiency will need to account for a third of emissions reductions by 2040 if we’re stay within relatively safe global warming limits, according to the International Energy Agency.

Clean Power Plan: Manufacturing Boon or Bust?

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

The Clean Power Plan has its day in court tomorrow. And as the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit prepares to hear oral arguments on the carbon pollution rules, two new studies suggest the Clean Power Plan will make manufacturers more competitive, not less as manufacturing and other industry groups have argued.

The Clean Power Plan requires existing coal-burning power plants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. In February the Supreme Court stayed implementation of the rule while the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit determines its legality.

Twenty-seven states and dozens of industry groups including the National Association of Manufactures have challenged the Clean Power Plan, saying it will lead to unreliable energy supplies and be too costly for US businesses.

These new reports, however, seem to suggest otherwise.

The reports are:

For China’s Massive Data Centers, A Push to Cut Energy and Water Use

Read the full story in E360 Digest.

As China’s population connects to the Web, its data centers are consuming huge amounts of energy to power the growing demand. Now, Chinese tech companies are turning to energy-efficient data facilities to cut costs and green their operations.

Women, There’s A Reason Why You’re Shivering In The Office

Read the full story from NPR.

He was probably about 40 years old, 155 pounds, white and wearing a suit. And he’s the reason why women are shivering at their desks in air-conditioned buildings.

At some point in the 1930s, someone defined “metabolic equivalents” — how much energy a body requires while sitting, walking and running. Almost a century later, the back-of-the-envelope calculations are considered a standard for many things, including air conditioning.

But using that metabolic equivalent could be unnecessarily ramping up energy bills during summertime, researchers say, and it’s time to plug in the right numbers so that air conditioning settings aren’t biased toward men, and fewer women are reaching for the sweater.

“Garbage in, garbage out,” says Boris Kingma, a biophysicist at Maastricht University in the Netherlands and lead author of the study, published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change. “So, if you put in the wrong metabolic rate, you get an answer which is of course not valid.”

When it comes to saving energy, it’s really not all about the money

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

recent psychological study has provided suggestive evidence that when people decide to take steps to use less energy at home, and so to protect the environment, they don’t merely do so because they want to save a little bit of cash on their electricity bills. If anything, it suggests, some forms of materialistic or competitive thinking may inhibit deep or long-lasting conservation attitudes.


Mother Earth’s Secret Weapon: Girl Scouts

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

There are many simple things we can all do to save energy, but few of us bother to ever learn about them, let alone change our behavior. Fortunately, new research points to a potent secret weapon in the battle to get people to act more responsibly: their nine- and 10-year-old girls.

According to a study in the journal Nature Energy, a program in which Girl Scouts were taught how to save energy at home had lasting results, changing the behavior of both the young ladies and their parents. What’s more, many of these new habits remained seven to eight months following the training.