The SAVE project’s review of evidence on ‘Energy Efficiency and Behaviour Change‘ which has just been published shows that whilst the great variety of previous trial approaches and contexts often makes it difficult to compare results, common insights have emerged. These include:

  1. Customers cannot be engaged as one group – the way in which different people react to attempts to change their energy behaviour differs and engagement needs to be tailored appropriately without resulting in prohibitive costs;
  2. Financial incentives can be effective but potentially need to be relatively large and impacts are often not sustainable over time;
  3. Normative comparisons between households have been shown to be very successful when based on intelligent like-for-like comparisons;
  4. Energy efficiency results need to be analysed within the context of wider factors such as the economic and regional context;
  5. Many trials have found a core group or customer segment whose behaviour is very difficult to change. Successful ways of engaging with this segment, which tends to be the largest single group, would add significantly to the knowledge base in this area.

Overall the projects reviewed repeatedly demonstrated that customers need more than one reason to engage and change behaviour. Programmes that layer and combine measures to provide a compelling behaviour change proposition will therefore be needed but care is needed to ensure that there is enough control to still be able to distinguish the impact of different measures.