Household Energy Conservation

Strategies for Behavioral Research

by Sandra H. Berry, John D. Winkler


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This Note reviews behavioral and social sciences research on household energy conservation. The Note describes the research, quantifies the savings in energy that were achieved, and indicates how they were achieved. Areas for future research that will extend or enhance the findings are suggested. Research on household energy conservation has established the importance of household members' behavior in the day-to-day management of the energy in their homes and in the decisions they make about changing their homes to conserve energy. The review of the literature showed that the methods used to induce conservation behavior fell into three categories. Based on differing assumptions about what promotes conservation behavior, these categories can be described as attitudinal, cognitive, and motivational. They concentrate on changing attitudes, improving knowledge, and motivating people to conserve energy. Experiments carried out over the past ten years that use these methods are described and evaluated.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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