According to the Wall Street Journal, it's one of the best ways.

"It isn't financial incentives. It isn't more information. It's
guilt....Studies dating back at least three decades clearly show the
power of social norms. We tend to ascribe our actions to more
high-minded motives, or to practical concerns about money. But at its
core, our behavior often boils down to that old mantra: Monkey see,
monkey do. Researchers are now learning how to harness that instinct to
nudge us to go green."

So how can we in the home performance industry use peer pressure to motivate our next customer?

Will developments like the Home Energy Scorecard introduced by Vice President Biden this week, which allow homeowners to see how they compare to their neighbors, help or hinder?

PS: I originally posted this in the BPI group, but had a request to re-post it here.

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It really depends on the type of neighborhood you live in. My sister lives down in Atlanta where there are a lot more young professionals and they all seem to be much more socially conscious (and pretentious). In her area, those type of campaigns could work wonders. Sort of an environmental "keeping up with the Jones".

Out here in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, campaigns like that only work on subjects the people feel (or perceive) is important. Your house, your car, how many sports your kid plays..., are all big (dumb) topics. Unfortunately, energy efficiency is not one of them.

Just used the spider web illustration the other day. When I moved the drop ceiling tiles in the basement, the homeowner could physically see the air moving the webs. Done deal!
What if the pressure came from more than just the people living near you? We're using social networks on Facebook and Twitter as a way to motivate people. Users compete to earn digital badges (or virtual pieces of Energy Flair, as we call them) for saving energy over time. They can then compare their Energy Flair collection to that of their Facebook friends, and because we've normalized the savings, they have a way to see how they're doing relative to others - and not just their neighbors.

I'm putting together flyers and other marketing campaigns for neighborhoods after I do an audit in a neighborhood built by a tract builder.  


But the first thing to do is to understand influence.  To that end, I'd recommend reading Influence by Dr. Robert Cialdini. He's a well known researcher in Social Psychology and is now on the science advisory board of Opower. Opower has one product they sell to utilities which is simply charting each residential customer's energy usage compared to their neighborhood.  Opower reports a 3% decrease in energy usage by simply adding that information to the bill.




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Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy,) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network.

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