Utilities and regulators increasingly rely on behavior change programs as essential parts of their demand side management (DSM) portfolios. This report evaluates the effectiveness of currently available programs, focusing on programs that have been assessed for energy savings. This report focuses on behavior change programs that primarily rely on social-science-based strategies instead of traditional approaches such as incentives, rebates, pricing, or legal and policy strategies. The objective is to help program administrators choose effective behavior change programs for their specific purposes.
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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.