ARB Research Seminar

This page updated June 19, 2013

Behavior Matters! The Design, Implementation, and Evaluation of Energy Efficiency Programs to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Edward Vine, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

December 12, 2008
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA



California has a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, to 1990 levels by 2020, and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

How will California meet these goals? In the Climate Change Draft Scoping Plan (June 2008), the California Air Resources Board identified several energy efficiency strategies that are anticipated to provide 16% of the estimated total emission reductions (169 MMTCO2E) by 2020. As noted in the Scoping Plan, these reductions “could be achieved through enhancements to existing programs such as increased incentives and even more stringent building codes and appliance efficiency standards.” While the focus of existing programs and codes and standards is on technological improvements, it is clear that technology by itself will not provide the needed reductions in energy use and emissions. It is just as important to focus on the behavior of the people who use these technologies. Homeowners and renters in the residential sector, building owners and tenants in the commercial and industrial sector, and farmers and workers in the agricultural sector have an important role in deciding on (1) the type of energy services that they desire, (2) their use of energy equipment, (3) investing in energy efficiency technologies, (4) complying with codes and standards, and (5) participating in energy efficiency programs.

In California, private and public utilities have designed and implemented energy efficiency programs to reduce energy use by promoting energy efficiency technologies and services in all sectors. People are encouraged to buy and use these technologies through financial incentives (e.g., rebates), education, advertising, and other types of information and persuasion. This talk will describe some of the behavioral assumptions that underlie the design and implementation of these programs, and suggest potential program design and implementation changes by re-examining these assumptions.

Finally, while the California energy efficiency program experience has been very successful, there are additional opportunities for increasing energy savings by focusing more on the behavior of individuals and organizations. This talk will discuss some of these behavioral change opportunities and the challenges in evaluating the energy savings from these initiatives.

Speaker Biography

Edward Vine, Ph.D., is a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) and is the Manager of the Environmental Program at the California Institute for Energy and Environment (CIEE). Dr. Vine provides technical assistance to the California Public Utility Commission on evaluation and program-related issues on energy efficiency, demand response, renewable energy, and climate change. Dr. Vine has been involved in behavioral energy issues since the mid-1970s when he conducted surveys of people living “off the grid” in Mendocino County, in addition to his surveys of members of the Northern California Solar Energy Association as part of a study of “deviancy” and “social movements.” Dr. Vine has over 30 years of experience in evaluating energy-efficiency programs and policies at the local, state, regional, national and international levels. Dr. Vine has published many papers on the evaluation of energy-efficiency programs, technologies, and policy.

Dr. Vine is a member of the Board of Directors and Planning Committee of the International Energy Program Evaluation Conference, the American Evaluation Association, and the Association of Energy Services Professionals. Dr. Vine is also an Affiliated Faculty Member of the Energy and Resources Group at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Vine received his undergraduate degree (B.S. in Environmental Studies) from Middlebury College (Vermont), and a Masters of Science and Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California at Davis. As one of the authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

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