Tuesday, November 14, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
The Second National Energy Literacy Survey of High School Seniors and Juniors
Session ID
A6 - Lightning: Segmentation and Targeted Messaging
Social Science Insights
Gary Swan

Results from the 2022 National Energy Literacy Survey of High School Seniors and Juniors will be published shortly and the findings are not encouraging. In only five years since the 2017 inaugural survey, energy literacy among high school seniors and juniors declined significantly, 6.4% on a 100-point test administered to a national random stratified sample of 1,564 students. The Survey collected extensive information about students’ energy-related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Some other key findings: An 11.6% drop in the average score of the subsection of the test (among five subsections) that focuses on knowledge of energy efficiency and conservation topics; a decline in all six energy efficient behaviors measured; significant declines in attitudes regarding energy efficiency, with sometimes surprising declines across the board in terms of such breakouts as political leanings, urbanicity, ethnicity, household income, parents’ education level, and others. What’s happening, and what can be done about it? The National Energy Foundation and Cicero Group have produced a white paper that explores answers to these questions. One likely answer is the COVID-19 pandemic that had a well-documented negative impact on students’ academic performance and emotional and mental health. Other possible answers include effects related to political polarization and social media consumption. NEF will present an overview of the Survey’s key findings, focusing on insights related to energy efficiency and decarbonization (the Survey also collected substantial information on energy sources and uses, energy tradeoffs, basic energy knowledge, and energy use). NEF will demonstrate to utilities, state energy programs, nonprofits, and other interested parties the need to double down on energy literacy efforts, given the huge energy transformations ongoing in the U.S. and the world. And NEF will provide specific suggestions regarding how to improve these efforts best.

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