Cade’s Idea

Behavioral Incentives – Reducing Energy Consumption for 65+

Older adults households (made up of persons aged 65+) are often not specifically targeted as energy wasters, however, older adult households use 36 percent more energy compared to households comprised of persons younger than 65 nationwide. Despite being the fastest growing segment of the population, older adults have been understudied in behavior based energy studies. Behavioral interventions are expected to reduce energy consumption among older adults by up to 20 percent (35 billion kWh per year). This study proposes a randomized encouragement design with two interventions to reduce energy consumption among older adults. We propose a new class of interventions that use generative messages about intergenerational impacts, based on behavioral theories from social psychology. We compare generative interventions to a well-studied policy intervention, financial incentives. We hypothesize that the use of generative messages can be a low cost means to reduce energy consumption with a potential savings of $4.2 billion per year.

Full Proposal