Reducing energy consumption is likely one the of the most impactful behavioral changes for the long term benefit of humanity. In the US, where policy has focused on using financial incentives to promote conservation, policy makers and utility companies have turned to behavioral science for a better solution.

One of the most successful behavioral interventions was implemented by Virginian company Opower. In collabration with ideas42, Opower partnered with utility companies and created Home Energy Reports which were mailed to each household and showed the home’s energy consumption compared to averages in the neighberhood. On average, these reports, which use social norms to change behavior, reduced energy consumption by 2% – not a monumental amount, but equivalent to a price increase of 11-20%. Furthermore, the reports created a 5% increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty – a huge impact considering the low cost of implementation.

Opower, now owned by Oracle is a software-as-a-service platform providing comparative energy reports that allow customers to see where they stand compared to their neighbours. You can read more about their energy efficiency programs here.