What unsustainable behavior needs to change:
Tenants in housing corporations and municipalities often have limited insights into their energy consumption patterns. This in turn can hinder their ability to make informed choices. Nevertheless, being mindful of their energy usage and actively reducing their consumption of gas, electricity, and heat – plays a crucial role in contributing to the broader goal of energy conservation and transitioning to sustainable energy sources.
The challenge lies in the intangible nature of energy. It’s difficult to quantify how much water is used while showering or the amount of energy required to maintain room temperature on a winter day. Consequently, people often struggle to modify their unsustainable energy behaviour when they cannot accurately evaluate abstract factors like water usage or room temperature.
The Green Nudge:
To address this issue, the “Smarter with your Energy“ initiative proposed the implementation of energy displays for tenants.
Unlike mobile apps, energy displays remain in plain sight (e.g.living room), serving as a constant reminder to conserve energy. For example, the display shows in real-time, how much a shower taken by a member of the household costs. As a person walks into the living room, one can instantly see the effects of their own behaviour displayed on the energy display. It is a simple, yet effective nudge that provides immediate feedback and insight into one’s energy use behaviour.
These tools yield both short-term and long-term benefits. In the short term, tenants witness the immediate impact of their energy-saving efforts on their bills, offering motivation and tangible evidence of the advantages of conservation. Over time, sustained energy-saving practices contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.
Furthermore, research conducted by the University of Tilburg and Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (2021) indicates that households using an energy display can save approximately 5% on their annual energy bills; amounting to a yearly saving of €100 to €200 – with energy displays being the sole effective method to achieve these desired results.
Are you aware of any other nudges that help to get insights on energy consumption? Feel free to comment or get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org