Monday, November 13, 2023
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
My Energy Target: A New Approach to Saving Residential Energy through Goal-Setting
Session ID
B2 - The Next Frontier in Utility Behavioral Programs
Behavior - based Programs
Ash Gillis

Traditional residential energy behavioral programs rely heavily on “neighbor comparisons”, leveraging social norms to reduce energy usage. However, many utilities are hesitant to include social comparisons in energy reports, making traditional programs infeasible. My Energy Target instead applies the behavioral science of goal-setting and advanced energy data analytics, providing a new approach to achieving energy savings – by motivating customers through individual goals of reducing energy by a targeted percentage. Customers participating in My Energy Target have two energy reduction goals: one “low target” goal to reduce energy use by a low percentage for a monetary reward and a “high target” goal to reduce by a higher percentage for a larger monetary reward. Customers receive feedback reports on progress toward their goals along with tips on energy-saving behaviors. Over the 2021 and 2022 summer seasons, roughly 50,000 Southern Maryland Energy Cooperative customer-members were either enrolled in the My Energy Target program or assigned to a matched-comparison group within a quasi-experimental design. Results showed strong engagement and significant energy savings. In the first year, roughly half of participants reduced their energy use and one-third achieved either their low or high target goal. Greater savings were achieved in the second year with nearly two-thirds reducing energy use and half achieving either their low or high target goal. Total energy savings across the two summers was 1,586,761 kWh, which is roughly equivalent to planting over 18,000 trees grown for 10 years. Results also showed that low-income participants saved more energy than high-income participants, suggesting additional benefits of the program for energy equity. Future work will focus on further engaging with low-income communities and using customer insights to tailor program communications.

Supporting Document 1