Reducing domestic heating demand: Managing the impact of behavior-changing feedback devices via marketing

J Environ Manage. 2017 Jul 15;197:642-655. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.04.036. Epub 2017 Apr 19.


Feedback devices can be used to inform households about their energy-consumption behavior. This may persuade them to practice energy conservation. The use of feedback devices can also-via word of mouth-spread among households and thereby support the spread of the incentivized behavior, e.g. energy-efficient heating behavior. This study investigates how to manage the impact of these environmental innovations via marketing. Marketing activities can support the diffusion of devices. This study aims to identify the most effective strategies of marketing feedback devices. We did this by adapting an agent-based model to simulate the roll-out of a novel feedback technology and heating behavior within households in a virtual city. The most promising marketing strategies were simulated and their impacts were analyzed. We found it particularly effective to lend out feedback devices to consumers, followed by leveraging the social influence of well-connected individuals, and giving away the first few feedback devices for free. Making households aware of the possibility of purchasing feedback devices was found to be least effective. However, making households aware proved to be most cost-efficient. This study shows that actively managing the roll-out of feedback devices can increase their impacts on energy-conservation both effectively and cost-efficiently.

Keywords: Energy-conservation behavior; Feedback device products; Innovation management.

MeSH terms

  • Conservation of Energy Resources*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Environment
  • Family Characteristics
  • Heating*
  • Humans
  • Marketing*