UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation study explains how consumers can be encouraged to conserve energy during peak periods

March 18, 2021

The UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation has developed new research identifying how effective certain incentives can be in motivating people to use less energy in their homes. As customers are often encouraged by electricity providers to reduce consumption in order to prevent blackouts, the researchers found that promotional messages actually prove effective at motivating customers to use less energy.

Image Source: Dan Lefebvre/Unsplash

“In more good news for the environment, our study found that demand response programs result in overall reduction in energy use — not merely a shift of consumption to other hours or days,” said J.R. DeShazo, the study’s principal investigator and the director of the Luskin Center for Innovation.

Researchers found that households reduce their energy use more when that consumption goal is more ambitious, assuming all other factors are constant.

The study recommends actions utilities and third-party demand response providers can take to maximize both the environmental and economic benefits of residential demand response programs, including:

• Offering financial incentives and emphasizing the economic benefits to participants.

• Supporting the adoption of automation devices like smart thermostats.

• Inducing greater energy savings by setting ambitious conservation targets for customers.

Read more in UCLA Newsroom.

Study authors:

Julien Gattaciecca, project manager, Luskin Center for Innovation

Samuel Krumholz, researcher, Luskin Center for Innovation, UC San Diego

Kelley McKanna, graduate student researcher, Luskin Center for Innovation

Kelly Trumbull, researcher, Luskin Center for Innovation

J.R. DeShazo, Director of the Luskin Center for Innovation.