ranged from 9 percent in cooler summer periods to 24 percent when the weather was hotter.

A few generalizations about publicity for energy information campaigns have emerged from a review of media campaigns by Koster (1981): programs were more successful when they offered a premium, such as a water-flow restrictor or free information booklets, and when they combined appeals to consumer responsibility with suggestions for specific actions. These recommendations are consistent with Hutton’s (1982) findings on energy advertising campaigns and with the importance of commitment and personal control. Koster also found that scare tactics and appeals to patriotism were much less effective than specific, useful information. In addition, Koster’s report offers numerous suggestions about operational details involved in using the mass media for energy information campaigns.

Publicity for energy audit programs can also take advantage of the diversity in energy users’ needs and their motives for saving energy. For some people, saving energy is a matter of financial necessity, while for others it may mean eliminating cold drafts, conserving scarce landlord-supplied heat, or attaining the satisfaction that comes from upholding personal values of thrift of environmental preservation. Announcements of energy audits, as well as communications from program personnel during the audits themselves, should emphasize those outcomes of energy savings that are important for the sort of household they are addressing. Communications should be different for homeowners and renters: for people who are or are not concerned about national energy problems; and for people who differ in other identifiable ways. It is also useful to have several sources distribute information in each area. In this way, more people will receive information from at least one source they pay attention to and trust. If a program is publicized through local organizations, the staffs of those organizations may be in the best position to know what their members and associates want from an energy program. This knowledge can do more than help with publicity. It may also direct a program’s emphasis to particular kinds of energy-saving actions—do-it-yourself versus contracted improvements, for example.

Publicity cannot overcome all the reasons for nonresponse to audit programs. Some programs emphasize activities that cost too much for certain households or are irrelevant for renters. And some program sponsors may not be motivated to try to reach all the clientele, as when an electric or gas utility company is responsible for providing energy-saving information to households that heat with oil.

From Audit to Action

Assuming that an energy auditor gets in the door, the effectiveness of an audit still depends on much more than having reliable, understandable

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement