Examining the Heterogeneity of Energy Efficiency Adoption and Savings Across Socio-Economic and Ethnic Groups Using a Large Scale Quasi-Experiment

Energy maintenance worker educating family on best HVAC practices

Assessing variations of social, cultural, and socio-economic factors impacting ethnic energy efficiency decision-making to improve efficacy in energy policy and programs.

Project Overview

Recipient: The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley

Program: EPIC

Award Amount: $360,632

Co-funded Amount: $150,784

Agreement Number: EPC-14-026

Project Term: 5/8/2015 - 6/30/2017

Project Status: Closed

Recipient Location:  Berkeley, CA

The Issue

Numerous studies have found that consumers are failing to adopt seemingly cost-effective investments in energy efficiency. Current energy efficiency programs and energy demand forecasts do not account for varying participation across social, cultural, and socioeconomic groups. Previous studies have been small scale or based on stated-choice surveys. The results of these studies can be unreliable due to low participation rates, recall bias, and other biases.

Project Innovation

This project conducted a quasi-experimental, econometric study of energy efficiency adoption and energy savings with a focus on differences between social, cultural, and socio-economic groups. The study applied modern economic methods to Southern California Edison’s Quality Installation Program, including regression-discontinuity and propensity score matching. The large data sets and rigorous methods resulted in estimates to improve demand forecasts, energy efficiency program design, and future energy studies concerning social, cultural, and socioeconomic groups.

Project Benefits

Senate Bill 350 (De Leon, 2015) set energy efficiency targets for 2030 and allowed for the targets to be achieved, in part, from utility programs that provide financial incentives and rebates to their customers to increase energy efficiency. This project team recommended designing future residential energy efficiency programs that target low-income customers in hot climate zones, and account for time-of-use rates in California. Key findings that led to these recommendations were that hot climate zone was a huge factor in getting customers to participate in this HVAC program, low-income households experienced greater savings because existing household appliances were usually less efficient and more noticeably improved, and that energy savings, due to participating in the program, were the greatest between the hours of 3-9 pm in the months of August and September due to peak demand rates.

Consumer Appeal: The project team was able to break out participation by these characteristics to identify differences in program participation and recommend specific opportunities for improved program targeting that could increase electricity savings and decrease program costs.




Project Overview

Recipient: The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley

Program: EPIC

Award Amount: $360,632

Co-funded Amount: $150,784

Agreement Number: EPC-14-026

Project Term: 5/8/2015 - 6/30/2017

Project Status: Closed

Recipient Location:  Berkeley, CA

Project Team

CEC Project Manager: Nicholas Blair

Recipient Contact: Andrew Campbell

Match Partner(s): The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley


 

 

For questions or additional information, please email RandDProjectinfo@energy.ca.gov

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