Does Real-Time Feedback On Electricity Use Really Change Our Behavior?

Jessica Leber at Co.Exist: “Is information power? Or more to the point, does information about our energy usage help us consume less power?

Even though there are a growing number of smart devices and systems on the market designed to give feedback about energy and water usage, in hopes of nudging us to cut back, studies have shown mixed evidence as to whether they actually work in changing long-term behavior.

In September 2010, the developer of a new LEED Gold apartment building in Manhattan approached Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions with the idea of studying whether they could reduce energy use by giving occupants devices that gave them real-time feedback on their electricity demand. They chose the Modlet, a device made by ThinkEco, that monitors energy use at each outlet, appliance by appliance.

The results of the study, published recently as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research, show that getting people to change their behavior is more complicated than it seems….(More).”

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