Policy ForumENERGY

Behavior and Energy Policy

Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1204-1205
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180775

You are currently viewing the summary.

View Full Text

Via your Institution

Log in through your institution

Log in through your institution


Summary

Many countries devote substantial public resources to research and development (R&D) for energy-efficient technologies. Energy efficiency, however, depends on both these technologies and the choices of the user. Policies to affect these choices focus on price changes (e.g., subsidies for energy-efficient goods) and information disclosure (e.g., mandated energy-use labels on appliances and autos). We argue that a broader approach is merited, one that draws on insights from the behavioral sciences. Just as we use R&D to develop “hard science” into useful technological solutions, a similar process can be used to develop basic behavioral science into large-scale business and policy innovations. Cost-effectiveness can be rigorously measured using scientific field-testing. Recent examples of scaling behaviorally informed R&D into large energy conservation programs suggest that this could have very high returns.