Episode 109: Would a display in your home providing information on how much energy you use influence your behavior?

On this week’s Energy Bite, Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, a scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses the types of information that can motivate the public to modify their energy use.



Learn more

Krishnamurti, T., Davis, A., Wong-Parodi, G., Canfield, C., & Wang, J. (2013). Creating an in-home display: experimental evidence and guidelines for design, Applied Energy, 108, 448-458

Delmas, M. & Lessem, N. 2014. Saving Power to Conserve your Reputation? The Effectiveness of Private versus Public Information. Journal of Environmental Economics and Management. 67: 353-370

Omar I. Asensio and Magali A. Delmas, Nonprice incentives and energy conservation. PNAS 2015 112 (6) E510-E515; published ahead of print January 12, 2015,doi:10.1073/pnas.1401880112.

Chen, V., Delmas, M., & Kaiser, W.J. 2014. Real-Time, Appliance-Level Electricity Use Feedback System: How to Engage Users? Energy and Buildings. 70: 455-462.

Matt Lucas, “Want people to conserve electricity? Tell them about pollution-induced asthma.” Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative, February 24, 2015.


HOST: You’ve heard the phrase “keeping up with the Jonses”. Can knowing how much energy my neighbor uses affect my energy use? On this week’s EnergyBite, Gabrielle Wong-Parodi, a scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, has some answers.

GABRIELLE WONG-PARODI: Researchers have found that a home energy display that provides consumers with their energy use in kilowatt hours- not financial savings- was the most effective way to communicate energy information.

HOST: What other information motivates consumers to reduce energy?

GABRIELLE WONG-PARODI: One analysis found that providing additional information to consumers such as how their energy influences human health really motivates people to reduce their energy use, especially if they have children and elderly living at home with them. Another influence is comparing their energy use to their neighbors.

HOST: When can consumer home energy use displays less effective?

GABRIELLE WONG-PARODI: Although those tested thought financial savings for reducing energy consumption for a particular appliance would be more motivating, that was not the case. This is because the cost of energy use for one device at a specific point of time is very small – say a few cents per hour – so it was not enough to influence behavior.

HOST: What display in your home, if any, would motivate you to reduce your energy consumption? Take our poll, see the results, and ask your energy questions at EnergyBite.org.

Energy Bite is a co-production between 90.5 WESA and Carnegie Mellon’s’ Scott Institute for Energy Innovation.


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