This paper explores ways in which program administrators are using social norms to spur behavior change and, as a result, curb energy use. In recent years, home energy reports (HER) programs have applied the concept of social norms to the energy efficiency context. These feedback programs inform customers of how their energy consumption compares to their neighbors' and provide other information about their usage, with the goal of enticing customers to change their energy use behavior to improve their relative neighborhood ranking.
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This paper first details industry best practices for contest administration, including tips for developing an overall contest plan and timeline, product sponsor recruitment, building a dynamic informational website, maximizing customer participation, selecting the winning home, seamless installation management, capturing and documenting project results, conducting a high profile media open house and facilitating customer workshops that educate homeowners and strengthen trade ally relationships. This paper then presents results and key lessons learned from more than 20 contests supported with funds from local community sustainability programs, utility energy efficiency programs, and U.S. Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds between 2008 and 2012.