What role does nudging play in the current energy crisis? How can nudges help save energy? The German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW) put these and other questions to ConPolicy project manager Dr. Annette Cerulli-Harms.
During the interview Dr. Cerulli-Harms explained that nudges can provide incentives for desirable behaviors such as energy conservation without limiting behavior through prohibitions or regulations. Many findings from the ConPolicy project on "green nudges" to encourage climate-friendly behavior for the National Climate Initiative (NKI) could also be applied to the topic of energy conservation. For example, standard and default settings - such as automatically switching off lights using timers or motion detectors – would be expected to work well. "Such measures [...] are implemented once, and cause an effect every time they are used," Dr. Annette Cerulli-Harms said in the interview. Nudges that target social behavior and herding effects and work with feedback might also motivate people to save electricity. Nudges have the greatest effect when they are associated with clear calls-to-action. Prompts such as "Set your refrigerator temperature two degrees higher" immediately make it clear what needs to be done. "If you then go on to show how much money can be saved as a result, many people join in. With phrases like 'Saving electricity is important,' on the other hand, it remains unclear where to start."
BDEW represents more than 1900 companies in the fields of electricity, natural gas and heat, as well as renewable energies, electro-mobility, energy networks, and water. The association is committed to secure and efficient energy supply and sustainable water management.