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Improving Energy Demand Analysis

Publication Type:



National Academy Press, Washington, DC (1984)



The Committee on Behavioral and Social Aspects of Energy Consumption and Production questioned the typical assumption that energy users can be adequately characterized as rational economic factors making choices in a market. In response to A DOE request for further work on consumer responses to energy prices, energy information, and early indicators that will improve energy demand projections, led to the formation of the Panel on Energy Demand Analysis. The Panel's report groups the findings into six chapters dealing with formal modeling and problem-oriented research; the effects of price on demand and of financial incentives and information on energy-efficient investment; behavioral studies of appliance efficiency decisions; and conclusions and recommendations on the role of formal models, of problem-oriented research, of data collection, and of combining methods. This book examines how a variety of behavioral factors, generally overlooked in existing models, affect energy use. It points the way-to-more accurate energy demand forecasts and more effective policies built on analyses that take these factors into account. This book begins with a description of how two analytic strategies - formal economic modeling and problem-centered research - are used to analyze and forecast energy demand. It notes the strengths and limitations of each approach and suggests areas where more knowledge is needed. To illustrate the importance of behavioral aspects in energy demand analysis, case studies examine: the effect of prices on consumer decisions; the effect of financial incentives on investments in residential energy efficiency; the effect of information on energy demand; and the role of energy efficiency in appliance purchases. The final chapter describes a multimethod strategy for analysis that relies not only on models, but also on surveys, experiments, evaluation research, and other analytic tools.