We get asked by many clients to quantify how much energy might be saved if they implemented a metering system complete with live feedback informing tenants of their energy consumption. Although we all intuitively know that is it easier to conserve if you first know how much you are using, it turns out that a little social pressure is needed to really rack up the savings. The effects of peer ranking are noted in a recent article in Slate:
Cialdini and his team placed door hangers on thousands of homes near San Diego. Three of these hangers provided standard rationales for energy efficiency: saving money, protecting the environment, and helping future generations. A fourth merely listed strategies for saving energy. These hangers each had only a negligible effect on energy consumption.
But another hanger tried a different tack, reporting that a certain percentage of the neighbors were using fans instead of A/C. It was, in essence, altruistic peer pressure—and it worked. The houses that received that hanger showed a 6 percent average drop in consumption, massive in the world of energy efficiency (and more than three times as much as the other homes targeted for messaging).
Check out the full article here.