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~2 Marketing Household Energy Conservation The Message and the Reality Loren Lutzenhiser . This chapter explores what we know about the social marketing of energy conservation, a well-studied proenvironmental behavior that once again has appeared as a policy focus in energy-constrained parts of North Amer- ica. Energy conservation (EC) requires changes in behavior that are often diffi- cult to accomplish. Underlying patterns of energy use are hard to recognize and their impacts (on budgets, prices, ecosystems, and energy systems) are distant in time and space. Support for EC has been sporadic and intervention outcomes have been mixed. As a result, EC is hardly a poster child for social marketing success in the environmental arena.) I first consider why the conservation of energy periodically has been identi- fied as a public good and policy goal. Understanding shifting motivations helps us understand why the serious social marketing of EC actually has been quite rare in the United States and why its effects have been highly variable. Drawing on research and policy related to U.S. household nontransportation energy use- the area where most of the literature is centered I then offer an overview of what we know about successes and failures of EC marketing. I conclude by considering what else we need to know to make conservation interventions more effective in the future.2 APPROACHES TO ENERGY CONSERVATION In different historical periods, different views of energy have led to quite different reasons for pursuing EC (National Research Council, 1984~. Prior to the 1970s, utility marketing was focused on promoting the expanded use of energy for personal benefit (comfort, convenience, luxury) and social good 49
so MARKETING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CONSERVATION (progress, prosperity, modernity). However, beginning in 1973, energy shortag- es and price spikes led to concerns about energy dependence, national security, and the economy. The social marketing of EC by the federal government and civic organizations began in this period, using television and print media adver- tising to promote simple measures to save energy, such as turning down the heat, using less hot water and lights, and installing weatherstripping and storm win- dows. The rationale was national interest the situation being, in President Carter' s words, "the moral equivalent of war." With the passing of the crises, however, the marketing of EC almost en- tirely disappeared. The exceptions were a national appliance efficiency label- ing program that continues today and localized efforts based on concern about the costs and impacts of energy supply system growth. In the 1980s, "demand side management" (DSM) programs were initiated in New England, the West Coast, and parts of the Midwest to secure EC reframed as "energy efficiency." Persons were asked to install insulation in housing, to purchase more efficient heating and cooling equipment, and to install upgraded appliances and light- ing. Marketing contact with consumers shifted to the use of "bill stuffers" and other direct appeals, including the provision of free "weatherization" services for low-income households by community agencies. Under DSM, the policy logic saw EC as the "least cost" source of energy supply with efficiency investments essentially allowing repurchase of energy from existing users at costs lower than new sources of supply. Social marketing under DSM focused on self-interest and bill reduction, sometimes with financial incentives includ- ed. Consumer appeals contained little mention of system-level goods or envi- ronmental benefits. During the l990s, as the prices of conventional fuels fell, investment in DSM declined. The little remaining social marketing of EC consisted of scat- tered environmental movement and government appeals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (primarily on late-night public service announcements and Web sites). However, the appliance labeling requirement continued in place, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) expanded its designation and la- beling of a wide variety of products under the EnergyStar brand. The EPA' s motivation was primarily to reduce the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions, and the agency worked quite effectively (and essentially on its own) with busi- ness groups to promote and bring to market more efficient technologies. In the early l990s, similar programs were launched by some utilities, along with state governments and environmental groups (usually in regional consortia), to pursue this strategy now termed "market transformation" (MT) in an effort to get the greatest impact from shrinking DSM funding (Geller and Nadel, 1994; York, 1999~. Consumer marketing strategies by MT initiatives have included televi- sion and print advertising, along with subsidies for lighting and appliance re- placement. The bases of MT appeals have been environmental as well as eco- nomic. With emergent energy "crises" in California, the Northwest, and New
LOREN LUTZENHISER 51 York in 2001, serious attention once again has been given to communicating the need for conservation directly to consumers on a mass basis. In sum, during the past 25 years, the social marketing of EC has taken place only for brief periods. Comprehensive social marketing of the sort used for AIDS prevention or antismoking campaigns never has been tried in the case of energy in the United States, with the range of policy instruments used (efficiency appeals, advertisements, incentive payments, labeling) generally being quite restricted and applied only in selected settings.3 Yet, as both a near-term imper- ative in some parts of the United States and a long-term environmental good on a global scale, the greater conservation of energy is clearly necessary, desirable, and quite feasible.4 MARKETING CONSERVATION AND CHANGING BEHAVIOR Given its history, it is probably not surprising that the social marketing of energy conservation even accompanied by incentives and subsidies has been highly variable in its effects. Stern (2000) and others have argued for some time that various conservation program approaches have tended to overlook a variety of barriers and limiting factors, leading to spotty success (e.g., Gardner and Stern, 1996; Schultz, this volume, Chapter 4; Th0gersen, this volume, Chapter 5~. Stern (this volume, Chapter 12) offers a good overview of our current knowl- edge of how social marketing and policy approaches can be better combined to confront barriers of different sorts. As noted, over the past two decades, social marketing of EC has received little serious, well-funded, carefully targeted, or persistent attention in the United States. But with that said, and despite continuing general pessimism among energy policy analysts about the potential for household conservation response, we have observed recent significant reductions in energy use in California (as much as 10 to 12 percent) in response to a combination of conservation appeals, critical events, and policy interventions (e.g., California Energy Commission, 2002~. A few earlier interventions, such as the Hood River Project (Hirst, 1987), that aggressively targeted whole communities also led to impressive responses, with nearly universal public adoption of energy efficiency innovation. But con- siderably more than simple mass advertising was involved in those efforts. In Hood River, Oregon, in 1983, marketing messages were accompanied by Bonneville Power Administration financial incentives, a pervasive rationale (civ- ic participation plus energy savings), and free technical assistance to households to help them evaluate EC alternatives and potential benefits (Keating and Flynn, 1984; also see Gardner and Stern, 1995:153-156 for an overview). Sociological research in the community prior to the project helped to develop a picture of community culture and social structure to use in the design of program offerings and marketing messages. A variety of regional and local groups provided sup- port that ranged from dissemination of official program information and word-
52 MARKETING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CONSERVATION of-mouth accounts of project success to ongoing feedback about possible pro- gram improvements. Various mass media outlets and advertising strategies were used, and a menu of services was offered to the community's 15,000 residents. The result was a 15-percent decrease in electricity consumption, achieved by what we might call a comprehensive, multipronged social marketing strategy (see Andreasen, 1995, for a discussion of optimal social marketing design). Unfortunately, the Hood River model was not reproduced elsewhere during the ensuing two decades. Furthermore, despite energy efficiency improvements in housing and appliances resulting from tighter regulations and even with the support of a variety of DSM and MT initiatives energy use in the United States continued to rise through the 1980s and l990s (Energy Information Administra- tion, 2002~. Beliefs and Background Knowledge Why might this be? Public opinion polls in the 1970s and 1980s and again in 2001 found that most persons believe energy problems are real, but general- ly attribute them to utility and government failures, rather than consumer behav- ior. At the same time, the public has consistently shown support for renewable energy and conservation, and has viewed energy use as something that could be better managed by consumers (e.g., Farhar et al., 1980; Farhar, 1993~. During the 1970s and early 1980s, more than 80 percent of households reported that they had "cut back" on heating or air conditioning "to conserve energy" (Farhar, 1993:xviii). Recent polling shows that EC involving "real changes" is seen as a social necessity, even in parts of the United States with no prospects of energy shortages (Gallup Poll News Service, 2001~. But in-depth interviews have shown that the public's understandings of the connections among environment, energy, behavior, and conservation are quite limited (Kempton et al., 1995~. Although appeals for energy conservation were widespread during the two 1970s energy crises, not all consumers were willing to conserve, and many likely conserved very little a situation that recently has been observed in California as well (Lutzenhiser, 2001b). Attitudes and Behavior In part because of the uncertainties in predicting consumer behavior, house- hold EC became an object of interest of psychologists in the late 1970s and early 1980s (for reviews, see Olsen, 1981; Costanzo et al., 1986~. At the center of this work was an effort to link persons' attitudes to their likelihood to pursue conser- vation behaviors that is, testing whether one's concerns about energy shortag- es, feelings of obligation to the community and society, or trust in scientific opinion would lead to changes in thermostat settings or fewer trips to the store (e.g., Heberlein and Warriner, 1982; Seligman, et al., 1979~.
LOREN LUTZENHISER 53 Because attitudes can be elicited, measured, and shaped by targeted appeals, EC attitude change has been the object of a good deal of investigation. Many researchers grounded their work in the Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) model an approach that treats intentions to act, as well as the actions that follow from them, as outcomes of a cognitive balancing of the actor's attitudes with the influences of his or her social environment. The conservation message is insert- ed into this system in order to elicit a combination of attitude, intention, and behavior changes. Some studies in this tradition reported significant positive relationships between attitudes and subsequent action (Seligman et al., 1979; Becker et al., 1981~. But others found situational factors (e.g., price, energy supply, weather, knowledge, income) to be more important (Stutzman and Green, 1982; Wilhelm and lams, 1984~. Ester's (1985) rigorous test of the Fishbein- Ajzen model found it to be an overall weak predictor of energy conservation behavior. Strong, favorable attitudes about conservation whether the person already has these or whether they are developed as a result of social marketing- may have little to do with what he or she subsequently does. It turns out that the circumstances of consumer choice are often more important than attitudes in predicting outcomes (Black et al., 1985; Stern, 2000~. Other psychologists, the behavior analysts, have focused their attention on how to change actual behaviors through selective use of stimuli and reinforce- ment. This view of social marketing cares little about attitude-altering messages, but is concerned with crafting appeals, information, and motivators that encour- age and reward specific conserving actions (turning off the lights, limiting the use of hot water, closing unoccupied rooms), and discourage nonconserving ac- tions. Work in this vein focused on EC behavior change has been reviewed by Katzev and Johnson (1987~. Geller (2001) offers a current assessment of the state of behavior analysis related to the broader topic of environmentally signifi- cant behaviors in general. He argues that quite different kinds of approaches and appeals are necessary to induce proenvironmental behaviors among different groups of consumers (who vary both in terms of their consciousness of behavior- al impacts and in the competence of their actions). Incentives and Prices Stern (1992) points out that both attitudes and behaviors interact with a large number of other factors in EC (see also Stern, this volume, Chapter 12~. Several of these particularly incentives and knowledge have been extensive- ly studied. During the 1980s, a number of DSM initiatives subsidized the pur- chase of energy-saving technologies (often through low-interest loans and re- bates) and they marketed their programs with well-funded campaigns stressing expected monetary savings. But customers often didn't buy into these DSM deals. During this same period, related efforts to improve consumer background knowledge through appliance labeling programs, utility public service ads, and
54 MARKETING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CONSERVATION governmental appeals often had little or no effect (Dyer and Maronick, 1988~. Research does suggest that "prompts" (i.e., "do this" or "don't do that" messag- es) had less effect than information accompanied by "feedback" about a person's own recent consumption.5 More "humanized" information provided by video images seemed to be more effective, as were community role models and inter- active, rather than "one-way," communications (e.g., via personal contacts with consumers and information delivered through local networks [Ester and Winett, 19821~. Large financial incentives seem to have a marked effect, but even these were remarkably slow to penetrate the residential market. The frequent failure of incentives alone to induce conservation behavior has been traced to poor economic/energy information and the fact that different subgroups of consumers are differentially attracted by various inducements, leading to the ironic conclu- sion that "the stronger the financial incentives are, the more important the nonfi- nancial factors especially marketing become to a program's success" (Stern et al., 1986:162~. But virtually none of these EC interventions were undertaken for long enough or with enough impetus to reveal the upper bound of possible effect. If incentives present a mixed picture, then shouldn't high and rising energy costs have a demonstrable effect on conservation behavior even granting limit- ed energy knowledge (Kempton and Montgomery, 1982~? This is a bedrock assumption of the rational/economic model of action assumed in energy policy since the 1980s (Stern, 1986; Lutzenhiser, 1993~. Once a month the utility presents a "price signal" to the consumer in the form of an energy bill from which he or she is required to gauge the effects of behavior and consider alterna- tives. In support of this "signal," utilities also have tried to fill in knowledge gaps, helping customers calculate the savings potentials of different efficiency investments. However, different consumers react in quite different ways to price levels and price changes (Dillman et al., 1983; Schwartz and True, 1990~. Research has suggested "price consciousness" itself to be a variable condition and only one of a number of ways of relating to energy use (Heslop et al., 1981~. Even if significant opportunities to save energy (and money) are present, only those with certain rationalistic styles may be able to appreciate that fact (Kempton, 1984~. Also, consumers claiming to be well informed about energy and believing them- selves to be acting in an economically rational fashion may often be mistaken. Several studies have found lack of consumer energy knowledge, including "in- formation indispensable to even gross cost calculation" (Archer et al., 1986:78; see also Kempton and Layne, 1988~. In the end, the two most widely used theories of energy and behavior ("atti- tude change" and "economic rationality") generally have been unable to predict EC behavior (Archer et al., 1984~. A few researchers have proposed alternative models focused on social networks and technology diffusion processes (Costan-
LOREN LUTZENHISER 55 zo et al., 1986) or the interaction of economic, psychological, and social vari- ables (Stern, 1986~. Stern and Oskamp (1987), for example, offer a model that treats attitude-behavior processes as part of larger, nested systems of beliefs, events, institutions, and influential "background factors" (e.g., income, educa- tion, family size, and ecological variables) that shape and constrain action. How- ever, apart from Stern's continuing interest in this area (e.g., Stern, 2000), there has been a dramatic decline in social psychological EC studies despite the fact that these are obviously useful in developing policy (Coltrane et al., 1986~.6 Some have suggested that, even in the absence of a well-developed model of behavior, it still might be possible to at least consider the relative EC effects of various program, incentive, and information combinations. Although the neces- sary data are not readily available, it is fair to say that EC social marketing efforts in the 1970s and more recently in 2001, when coupled with other policy initiatives and motivating events, might be expected to produce energy savings in the neighborhood of 10 percent. However, the persistence of these savings is widely doubted by energy analysts, and it is reasonable to suppose (again, see Stern, this volume, Chapter 12) that weakening of the combined effects of social marketing, incentives, and context factors ought to probably result in a reduction of EC efforts. WHY PERSISTENT NONRESPONSE? So, behavior is resilient, consumption is expansive, and standard models are of limited value. Is the problem intractable? Perhaps not. There is another way to look at it. From a sociological point of view, the important "contextual fac- tors" (and even the "personal capabilities") that Stern (2000) and others argue should be used to improve psychological models also can be seen as elements of highly organized social systems systems that actively shape and constrain indi- vidual behavior. From this point of view, the question "Why haven't we had greater success with our efforts to promote energy conservation?" is best ad- dressed by considering a set of system characteristics, including the social em- beddedness of energy use, the constrained nature of household choice, the coun- termarketing of consumptive lifestyles and behaviors, and the lack of impetus for change.7 Embeddedness Social life is inherently energetic (Cottrell, 1955; Rosa et al., 1988), which means that the energy flows we might want to alter are both ubiquitous and invisible hidden in walls and machines, habits and routines. What's more, both energy and EC behaviors (such as the investment in more efficient energy- using equipment) are embedded in cultural systems with logics that have little to do with either energy or investment. Here we're talking about the logics and
56 MARKETING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CONSERVATION behaviors involved in homemaking, childrearing, cooking and cleaning, getting by, and doing well.8 As a result, consumption is deeply embedded in social routines and personal habits (Lutzenhiser, 1988; Hackett and Lutzenhiser,1985~. Social actors are competent masters of their routines and habits. But as such, there is no reason to expect them to have much energy "literacy," to know how their houses are built or equipped (Singh et al., 1989), or to know how to think and act responsibly about efficiency choices (Kempton and Montgomery, 1982~. The energy flows that sustain them are also usually a collective accom- plishment of households and follow a social division of labor (Kempton and Krabacher, 1984), with divided responsibilities for matters involving appliances, energy bills, and conservation (Wilhite and Wilk, 1987; Wilhelm and lams, 1984; Klausner, 1979; Ritchie and McDougall, 1985~. Often the cultural categories useful for understanding social worlds not only conceal energy flows, but demand actions that are nonconserving. Social identi- ties are at stake in those worlds, and serious issues of respectability, authority, and stigma are implicit in even the most routine energy-using behaviors such as cleaning, bathing, or entertaining. To "conserve" may be an action associated with poverty, and loss of comfort, convenience, cleanliness, or pleasure, and with the threat of social costs incurred if these losses are noticed by others. Finally, because social status often is achieved and displayed through pos- session of the largest houses, cars, appliances, or bathtubs, high rates of con- sumption in the United States are actually a constitutive feature of the social matrix within which the actor and his or her social appliances are enmeshed (Lutzenhiser and Gossard, 2000~. Energy use tends to be hierarchical and em- bedded in lifestyle requirements that are socially imposed, rather than a matter of individual choice or preference (Electric Power Research Institute, 1990; Lutzen- hiser, 1993; Schipper et al., 1989; Wilhite et al., 2001; Lutzenhiser and Gossard, 2000~. Constraints on Choice Energy conservation also is rendered difficult by the physical characteristics of buildings, systems, and even infrastructures. There is often a good deal of uncertainty about just how much EC might be possible because of difficulties associated with building orientation, layout, and major systems. Even when persons know what can and should be done (e.g., in terms of insulation, win- dows, furnaces, landscapes), they are routinely constrained by lack of financial and professional/commercial resources. Only innovations that are allowable under code, and that the utility agrees to connect to its system, can be adopted. One can only choose what's available in the marketplace and what can be in- stalled and maintained. These choices are often severely constrained by lack of enthusiasm for more efficient products by the trades and businesses in the tech- nology supply chain who are risk averse and resistant to innovation.
LOREN LUTZENHISER 57 Countermarketing At the same time, would-be social marketers of EC find themselves in the midst of many other social marketing efforts, including the American cult of newness and continuous bombardment by "bigger is better" and "shop 'til you drop" messages. These cultural values are not universally held, of course, and a variety of lifestyles are not oriented to excess (some are even oriented to frugal- ity, simplicity, and sustainability). Certainly there is no one-to-one correlation between the amounts that people spend and their associated environmental im- pacts.9 However, the core beliefs of consumerism are widely shared, and they provide fertile ground for consumption messages. The marketing of expanded consumption is incessant in media representa- tions of ways of life that also offer advertiser opportunities for "product place- ment" on television programs and in movies. Furthermore, the merchandising of goods in retail settings, coordinated with marketing, media, and consumer cul- ture, not only shapes choices and encourages buying, but creates new "needs" on the spot (Ewen, 1979; Stein, 1979; Underhill, 1999~. All of these processes, in the hands of skilled agents of change, work together to effectively counteract social marketing messages about conservation.~° Impetus Finally, for social marketing in support of EC to be successful, there has to be some impetus for change some sponsorship for conservation. With ample energy supplies, low prices, little interest in the global climate consequences of expanded energy use, lack of a "green" political party, and stalemate on environ- mental policies between the executive and legislative branches, there has been a lack of federal sponsorship for EC (Lutzenhiser, 2001a). EPA efforts to build the EnergyStar program and brand (recently with the assistance of the U.S. De- partment of Energy) are clear exceptions. But in the context of overall federal inactivity, those efforts must be seen as quite modest investments. In some states, environmental interests and utility regulators have had the political will and leverage to mount EC programs under DSM and MT. But in these cases, the interventions also have had usually only modest ambitions as well as a hardware orientation, little serious or creative social marketing messag- ing, and often only the halfhearted sponsorship of utilities who have been quick to shed their EC programs when faced with the prospects of energy system deregulation. ~ ~ Outside of the utility system, there is an emerging environmental critique of consumerism (Durning, 1992), some environmental organization focus on house- hold conservation (e.g., Fickeisen, 1990), and some evidence of nascent green consumer movements and green market responses (Hawker et al., 1999~. But there has been little supporting interest in EC by governments or corporations
58 MARKETING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CONSERVATION until the recent energy shortages, blackouts, political turmoil, and (in Califor- nia's case) renewed demands for social marketing and conservation. There is little reason to believe that the social marketing of EC will be sustained in the absence of crisis. Long-term impetus for serious changes in energy use patterns can only come from a serious U.S. greenhouse gas reduction policy something that has yet to receive needed support in public discourse or policy debate. RESEARCH DIRECTIONS Currently, very little research of any sort related to people and energy let alone work on EC promotion is taking place. The recent energy supply problems may offer opportunities for evaluation researchers to examine the ef- fectiveness of different social marketing approaches and incentives schemes un- der crisis conditions. But the need for basic research will remain. Stern (2000) argues that, because environmentally significant behavior such as energy consumption is a product of complex interactions among a broad range of factors, effective interventions likely require a combination of intervention approaches (e.g., incentives + community-based programs + information + re- moval of barriers and constraints). But our knowledge of how these approaches work singly, let alone in combination, is quite limited. So some key areas of inquiry include: . How might we improve the flow of EC information through the domi- nant existing channels such as the utility bill? An example might be the provision of comparative information to consumers, allowing them to see how their energy use measures up to neighborhood norms (Brent and Kempton, 1998; also see Schultz, this volume, Chapter 4, on recycling norms). Another prominent source of energy information is the appli- ance label. U.S. research in this area (e.g., Egan et al., 2000) has pro- duced some provocative preliminary findings about how to make the label more effective through the use of better graphical presentation of energy data, and a recent comprehensive label redesign project in India shows that a good deal more effective social marketing can take place through that vehicle (Dethman et al., 2000~. A hybrid experiment might also test the labeling of energy sources (such as fossil, renewables, con- servation) on utility bills (see Th0gersen, Chapter 5, on "eco-labeling"~. · The increasingly deregulated energy system will offer new opportunities for households to monitor their own consumption and communicate with suppliers and vendors of EC products and services via "smart meters" and the Internet. Not everyone will benefit from these developments, however, and the questions of how the new technologies will be shaped, how they might be used, and who might be excluded from their benefits all warrant study.
LOREN LUTZENHISER . 59 · Some fundamental accounting work is needed to compare the consump- tiveness of different lifestyles and their relative social and environmental costs (e.g., Lutzenhiser and Hackett, 1993; Lutzenhiser, 1997~. Large differences in energy flows, environmentally significant behaviors, target consumer groups, and equity problems in vulnerable populations can be identified in this way. We need to better understand the "chicken and egg" nature of demand- the ways in which consumer culture and choices in the marketplace inter- act with producer/retailer decisions and efforts to create needs, shaping consumption and driving the expansion of environmental impacts (Wil- hite and Lutzenhiser, 1999; Wilhite et al., 2001~. A hard look at emerg- ing green consumer countermovements also is warranted. · The continuing expansion of societal energy consumption is evidence of growth in the development and diffusion of energy-using devices and technologies. It is also evidence of the unintended effects of policies not specifically directed toward energy or the environment, such as zoning and land use regulations, fuel subsidies, transportation planning, building codes, industry protection arrangements, and so on. The effects of these policies on consumer choice and the escalation of consumption also should be more carefully examined (Wilhite et al., 2001~. Other research efforts can be imagined as well. However, the listed topics would help us to achieve a better understanding of how consumers can be en- abled in their EC efforts through information, social support, removal of con- straints, and the disembedding of various forms of consumption. NOTES 1 Although "conservation" often may be equated with "curtailment" (and attendant suffering), we use the term in a technical sense, denoting reductions in rates of energy use that result from a wide array of choices and actions. Some of these involve simple behaviors such as turning off the lights when not using certain spaces. Others involve conservative strategies for the use of heating and air conditioning that may produce significant energy savings while having little or no noticeable effect on comfort. Still others involve the purchase of new high-performance appliances and equip- ment. Although these latter hardware choices frequently are identified in policy analysis as "effi- ciency measures," we treat them here as also falling under the broad rubric of "conservation." 2 The literature on energy conservation is spread across a variety of academic and applied literatures, including energy policy studies, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and applied energy program analysis reported largely in conference proceedings and evaluation reports. As a result, it is not always easily accessible. However, a number of detailed summaries have been undertaken, and these serve as a key set of resources. There are also a number of good literature reviews and metatheoretical articles synthesizing empirical work on human energy use and conservation behavior and critically evaluating various approaches to understanding and influencing that behavior. Key sources include previous National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council stud- ies on energy and society (National Research Council, 1984), the "human dimensions" of global environmental change (National Research Council, 1992), and the linkages between consumption
60 MARKETING HOUSEHOLD ENERGY CONSERVATION and the environment (National Research Council, 1997). For this chapter, I have also relied heavily on several other broadly focused critical reviews of the literature (Lutzenhiser, 1993; Lutzenhiser et al., 2001; Shove et al., 1998; Wilhite et al., 2001); specialized reviews of research on conservation behavior change (Katzev and Johnson, 1987; Black et al., 1985; Stern, 1992); and several reviews more narrowly focused on particular subtopics in the area, including work on public opinion on energy and conservation (Farhar, 1993), the effectiveness of targeted incentives (Stern et al., 1986), research on feedback to consumers about their own behavior and consumption (Farhar and Fitz- patrick, 1989), the measurement of energy savings from education/information interventions (Green and Skumatz, 2000), and the effectiveness of various billing formats (Brent and Kempton, 1998; Lutzenhiser et al., 2001). 3 The reasons for this are fairly straightforward. They include: low energy prices, interest by the utilities in sales growth, the marginal status of climate change issues in U.S. policy discourse, and lack of linkage between personal consumption and environmental impacts in consumer consciousness. 4 There is a well-documented "efficiency gap" (Loving, 1977; Nadel et al., 1998) between what engineers and energy policy analysts know to be technically possible and what's available in the marketplace (e.g., in terms of appliance efficiency, housing design, lighting systems). Also, so much variability in consumption can be observed in the population with vastly different amounts of energy being used to "power" different households in different social and geographic locations (Socolow and Sonderegger, 1976; Lutzenhiser and Hackett, 1993; Lutzenhiser, 1997) that what's socially imaginable seems to be potentially quite elastic. 5 See Katzev and Johnson (1987) for a detailed review of the feedback literature, as well as Farhar and Fitzpatrick (1989). 6 This is shown by both the work reported in Lutzenhiser (1992) and a review of the literature from 1990 to 2001 conducted for this chapter. Both reveal a marked decline in energy-related social science research since the mid-1980s. 7 For a more fully developed discussion of these forces, see Lutzenhiser (2001c). 8 See Granovetter (1985) for a discussion of the embeddedness of economic activity a partial model for the usage proposed here. He noted that economic activity (buying, selling, renting, invest- ing), rather than being part of a separate purely economic sphere, is found deeply rooted in social networks, peer relations, families, communities, institutions, tribes and so on. In fact, it is only through these networks of social relations that economic activities can take place. 9 For example, the information economy and high-priced branded goods can absorb a good deal of money without dramatic increases in environmental withdrawals or deposits. 10 For an expanded discussion of the effects of the "3-Ms" (marketing, media, and merchandis- ing) on consumption, see Lutzenhiser (2001c). 11 Utilities often have been halfhearted participants in efficiency efforts except for a few large public utilities with environmental constituencies (e.g., Seattle, Tacoma, Eugene, Sacramento) and some privately owned utilities with expanding demand and contracting sources of supply. Most utilities, however, have matched their growing loads with a continuous growth in supply. Supply expansion is part of their organizational culture and business strategy, and unabashed enthusiasm for the supply side has returned, as the movement to deregulate electric utilities has gained momentum and as efforts have grown by the federal government to expand energy production. 12 As DSM programs continue on a limited basis in some locales, and MT efforts are mounted in others, a bit of evaluation research continues. Little of this is household focused, however. Utilities frequently survey their consumers about satisfaction and public opinion on deregulation, but until recently have had little interest in EC or the environment. Not surprisingly, these polls are finding significant popular support for green power, even at premium prices. But utilities can be reluctant to act on these sorts of consumer "demands" when they find them (Farhar and Coburn 2000). The EPA's EnergyStar efforts are supporting some research on billing systems (W. Kemp- ton, University of Delaware, 2000) and a study of possible improvements to the U.S. standard
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