Analysis Group Team Assesses Behavioral Energy Efficiency Programs’ Economic Performance and Impact on Climate Change
August 14, 2020
In the past decade, utilities have established behavioral energy efficiency (BEE) programs aimed at changing customer behavior by providing energy consumption information to consumers. BEE programs encourage limiting electricity and natural gas consumption and provide resources and incentives for changing home energy equipment and practices. They also encourage increased participation in utilities’ structural energy efficiency (SEE) programs, which target installation or retrofit of energy-saving HVAC or building shell measures that generate long-term energy savings. At the request of Oracle, an Analysis Group team provided an assessment of utility energy efficiency programs’ effectiveness and timeliness in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and avoiding social, economic, and environmental damage caused by climate change. The team compared costs and benefits of SEE energy programs, which generally include structural retrofits that offer longer-term savings, to BEE programs that generally offer shorter-term savings.
In their report titled Utility energy efficiency program performance from a climate change perspective: A comparison of structural and behavioral programs, the Analysis Group team of Principal Paul Hibbard, Associates Jonathan Baker and Mona Birjandi-Feriz, and Senior Analyst Hannah Krovetz analyze the climate value of BEE and SEE programs, taking into account the time value of achieving savings (and associated GHG emission reductions) sooner rather than later. The authors consider levels of savings achieved by SEE and BEE programs, the cost of each program, how rapidly each program type achieves those savings, and how their combined use drives the resulting GHG emission reduction benefits and avoids damages from climate change. The authors find that BEE programs are particularly effective in achieving GHG emissions quickly, and at low cost relative to other programs.