- Large and persistent energy savings of 22% on the target behavior
- The approach is cost-effective and the savings (452 kWh/home/year) exceed the energy use for lighting in the average Swiss household
- The study was featured as Research Highlight by Nature Energy in 2017 and will be a case study in the book Social Marketing: Behavior Change for Social Good (Lee & Kotler, forthcoming)
Energy consumption may be a prerequisite for our modern lives, yet, for most people, is a low-involvement topic: Even though many people want to protect the environment, in their daily lives they rarely think about how much energy a particular activity consumes. The benefits of energy or water use are usually immediate and perceptible, whereas the negative implications in terms of costs and emissions from energy generation are typically elusive and difficult to gauge for the individual. This creates a bias in favor of the salient at the point of decision-making.
In a large-scale two-month randomized controlled field trial, we provided smart shower meters to 697 Swiss households and collected survey data for subgroup analyses. While two thirds of the participants received real-time feedback on their resource use in the shower, control group devices displayed only water temperature.
- We show that an effective way to overcome salience bias is by providing feedback on resource use in real time, while individuals can directly adapt.
- Feedback on a single energy-intensive behavior induces much larger absolute savings than aggregate feedback on household energy use (same pool of households).
- The effects are stable over the two-month study period.
Tiefenbeck, V., Goette, L., Degen, K., Tasic, V., Fleisch, E., Lalive, R., Staake, T. (2018), Overcoming salience bias: How real‐time feedback fosters resource conservation. Management Science 64(3), pp. 1458‐1476, epublished ahead of print in Nov. 2016.
Wörner, A., Tiefenbeck, V. (2018), The role of self‐set goals in IS‐induced behavior change. Proceedings of the European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2018), Portsmouth, United Kingdom – First runner up best paper award.
The research has been funded by Zurich’s utility company ewz and by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).
Verena Tiefenbeck, Thorsten Staake, Vojkan Tasic, Elgar Fleisch
Partners: ewz, SFOE, Amphiro AG, University of Lausanne (Lorenz Goette, Kathrin Degen, Rafael Lalieve)
Overcoming Salience Bias: The Power of Real-Time Feedback at the Point of Use
Energy Conservation in the Absence of Volunteer Selection Bias and Monetary Incentives
Feedback, Fast and Slow: Effect of Live vs. Outcome Feedback
Don't Kill the Polar Bear: Symbolic Representation in Energy Efficiency Programs
Moral Licensing: Evidence from a Field Study
Adoption and Usage: Consumer Interaction with Green IS
For further information or if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us.
Strictly necessary cookies guarantee functions without which this website would not function as intended. As a result these cookies cannot be deactivated. These cookies are used exclusively by this website and are therefore first party cookies. This means that all information stored in the cookies will be returned to this website.
Functional cookies enable this website to provide you with certain functions and to store information already provided (such as registered name or language selection) in order to offer you improved and more personalized functions.
Performance cookies gather information on how a web page is used. We use them to better understand how our web pages are used in order to improve their appeal, content and functionality.
Marketing / Third Party Cookies originate from external advertising companies (among others) and are used to gather information about the websites visited by you, in order to e.g. create targeted advertising for you.