Feedback devices can be used to inform households about their energy consumption behaviour. This may persuade them to practice energy conservation. The use of feedback devices can also - via word of mouth - spread among households and thereby support the spread of the incentivised behaviour, e. g. energy efficient heating behaviour.
This study investigates how to manage the impact of these environmental innovations via marketing, which can support the diffusion of devices. The authors adapted an agent-based model to simulate the roll-out of a novel feedback technology and heating behaviour within households in a virtual city, simulating the most promising marketing strategies and analysing their impacts.
Results show that it is particularly effective to lend out feedback devices to consumers, followed by leveraging the social influence of well-connected individuals, and giving away the first few feedback devices for free. However, making households aware of the possibility of purchasing feedback devices was found to be least effective, yet most cost-efficient. Overall, the study shows that actively managing the roll-out of feedback devices can increase their impacts on energy conservation both effectively and cost-efficiently.
"Reducing domestic heating demand: Managing the impact of behavior-changing feedback devices via marketing" by Thorben Jensen and Émile J.L. Chappin (both Wuppertal Institute) was published in the Journal of Environmental Management and is available for purchase via ScienceDirect.