Messaging for Impact: Behavioral Science-Based Communication Strategies to Advance Energy Efficiency
Currently, five legal authorities require U.S. federal agencies to purchase energy-efficient products. However, compliance with these requirements has consistently been low (~55%). Recent surveys indicate that energy efficiency requirements are not communicated properly within federal agencies and energy-efficiency is not a top priority. In the constantly evolving energy industry, with many solutions for a clean energy future, effective communication methods are vital for widespread adoption of energy efficiency. We have been conducting experiments within the U.S. federal sector that test the effectiveness of messaging strategies developed by using behavioral science principles like loss aversion, framing, and herd behavior. This will identify effective communications methods that encourage energy efficiency adoption. In this study, we measure the effectiveness of different communication strategies by monitoring the web traffic of hyperlinks placed within our digital communications and outreach materials. To determine effective strategies that influence federal buyer behavior, the web traffic from subjects that received the behavioral science-based messaging (treatment group) is compared to that from subjects that received regular messaging (control group) for each of the strategies. This paper provides an overview of the behavioral science principles that we applied, data collection methods, and results of our analysis. Since the lack of effective communication of energy-efficiency policies is also a common problem in the private sector, the messaging strategies developed in this study can be applicable to other large private sector institutions..