Skip to content Skip to navigation

Behavioral Interventions

Energy Solving Projects web screen shot

This large set of projects set out to reduce and shift energy use through media (interaction design, social networking, games and feedback interfaces); incentives (behavioral economic programs); and community groups (schools, utility and social organizations).

Target Behaviors

Energy Action & Behavior Attributes
A fundamental necessity to effective energy behavior change is to characterize desired behaviors. Does the behavior require much skill? Is it expensive? Must it be performed just once or several times a day? Will energy and economic savings be substantial or small?
 End use (vertical) vs. emergent principles (horizontal)
Are we inventing the energy-efficiency wheel? Can we adapt practices and technologies from other cultures and time periods to produce substantial home energy savings?

Media Interventions

City of Mountain View Energy Saving Program
Does framing efforts to save energy as part of a communal goal–"We're doing this together!"–get people to use less energy than stating a fact about how much other people have reduced use? Does either pitch achieve more than just presenting energy savings tips?
Kidago website screen shot
This large set of projects set out to reduce and shift energy use through media (interaction design, social networking, games and feedback interfaces); incentives (behavioral economic programs); and community groups (schools, utility and social organizations).
Powerhouse screen shot
Multiplayer games may be the most engaging, sophisticated and collaborative media ever to be applied to changing behavior in serious contexts. This project developed “Power House” to see if games can be used to build energy efficiency habits?
Rendering of testing results
Two strategies highlighted by scholars—personalization and vividness—may be especially useful in promoting environmental behavior change. This project tested both using virtual reality technology.

Policy Interventions

Appliance calculator website screen
Will consumers purchase energy-efficient refrigerators that have higher price tags, but save money in the long term on their utility bills? In this Stanford Energy Behavior Initiative project, three online experiments explored the ability of energy and cost messaging to nudge shoppers in this direction.
insinc website screen shot
Are people motivated more by a small chance at a big prize than by a guaranteed small reward? To ease traffic congestion, which wastes a lot of energy and contributes to pollution, this project shifted travel away from rush hour using novel monetary incentives, gaming and a social network.

Community Interventions

Girls Learning Energy and Environment Website
Can behavioral methods successfully used in public health also help increase children's energy-saving behaviors and reduce family/household energy use? Working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, this project developed two curricula on reducing energy use at home and in food and transportation choices with promising results.