Tiefenbeck, V. et al.Real-time feedback promotes energy conservation in the absence of volunteer selection bias and monetary incentives


Verena Tiefenbeck, Anselma Wörner, Samuel Schöb, Elgar Fleisch & Thorsten Staake

November 2018

Nature Energy

Feedback interventions have proved to be effective at promoting energy conservation behavior, and digital technologies have the potential to make interventions more powerful and scalable. In particular, real-time feedback on a specific, energy-inten-sive activity may induce considerable behavior change and savings. Yet the majority of feedback studies that report large effects are conducted with opt-in samples of individuals who volunteer to participate. Here the authors show that real-time feedback on resource consumption during showering induces substantial energy conservation in an uninformed sample of guests at 6 hotels (265 rooms, N = 19,596 observations). The treatment effects are large (11.4 percent reduction in energy use), indicating that the real-time feedback induced substantial energy conservation among participants who did not opt in, and in a context where participants were not financially responsible for energy costs. The authors thus provide empirical evidence for real-time feedback as a scalable and cost-efficient policy instrument for fostering resource conservation among the broader public.

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