Combining information on others’ energy usage and their approval of energy conservation promotes energy saving behaviour
Bonan J., Cattaneo C., D’Adda G., Tavoni M., (2020), Combining information on others’ energy usage and their approval of energy conservation promotes energy saving behaviour, Nature Energy, Volume 5, pages 832–833, DOI: 10.1038/s41560-020-00727-z, webpage
Households reduced their electricity use the most when they learnt both that they were using more energy than their neighbours and that energy conservation was socially approved. This suggests that efforts to use social information to nudge conservation should combine different types of social feedback to maximize impact.
Messages for policy
- The content of social information messages determines their impact on energy conservation.
- Combining descriptive information on neighbours’ efficient energy usage and injunctive social approval for energy efficiency maximizes the effectiveness of social information.
- Delivering inconsistent descriptive and injunctive information reduces the impact of each piece of feedback.
- Simply adding more pieces of feedback of the same type has a limited effect.