The 2015 Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference (BECC) gathered experts from across the energy industry to discuss behavior and decision-making of individuals and organizations related to energy usage, greenhouse gas emissions, climate change, and sustainability. As part of a conference segment focused on learning from users, Dr. Joana Abreu, a Behavioral Scientist at Fraunhofer CSE, presented a case study on the recent field testing pilot, Hit “Run” to Go Back to the Schedule, with the Albany Housing Authority, funded by the the New York State Energy Research and Development Administration (NYSERDA).
The field pilot tested two behavioral interventions designed to increase the effective use of programmable thermostats by low‐income tenants who pay for utility bills. The target behaviors included using set back schedules in the winter heating months at night when tenants are asleep and during the daytime when tenants are not at home. Both the treatment and control groups received programmable thermostats and the treatment groups also received customized thermostat settings based on their stated schedules and preferences.
Focus groups were held prior to implementing the field pilot to determine the values of the target population, and to test the effectiveness of messaging that was used to prompt tenants to resume their programmed schedules.
In her BECC presentation, Dr. Abreu presented her findings, citing that the households from the treatment groups used significantly more schedules than the houses that belonged to the control group. She also showed that overall the households that belong to the treatment groups kept their homes cooler when it was unoccupied or overnight.
To view Dr. Abreu’s full presentation from the 2015 BECC, click here BECC2016_3.