National Energy Study

Report PART ONE: The effects of feedback on domestic energy use

Baker Homes’ National Energy Study (NES) was a major study involving 500 homes, looking at ways to encourage residents to change energy behaviours. Homes from fourteen housing associations across England took part in the winter of 2013-14.

Participants’ energy use (gas and electricity) was measured every two weeks and feedback given. The study was built on four main ideas:

  • That many peoples’ understanding of how they use energy is low – therefore tips for becoming more energy-efficient are not easily adopted.
  • Habits are based around tasks (making tea, washing, cooking etc) and energy use is a by-product of these – so people don’t intentionally waste energy and believe they are all ‘average’ users.
  • Behaviour change theories suggest that people are more motivated to change habits when compared to other people – rather than when being presented with bills and rational suggestions of what is more efficient.
  • Not only that, but if they adopt habits to feel good about themselves (rather than simply to save money) then they will be more likely to adopt other socially-good behaviours.

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The study found people were more ready to adopt electricity-saving habits than gas-saving ones. Also that people who were already the lowest users (and therefore received the most positive feedback) were more likely to make additional savings than other groups.

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