The Effects of Monetary Rebates and Daily Feedback on Electricity Conservation

Richard A. Winett
Stephen Kaiser
Gerald Haberkorn

DOI: 10.2190/E2LK-BD8M-9YYW-VK4B


The purpose of this study was to continue investigations of practical, inexpensive methods to promote residential electricity conservation. Following a one week baseline period, six experimental apartments were placed on a graduated rebate system for one week where reductions in electricity use earned participants money. Six apartments served as untreated controls for the remainder of the study. In the following week, half the experimental apartments only received daily written feedback on their electricity use compared to their baseline level and the daily use of control apartments, while the other three apartments were placed on a half payment rebate system. For the next four weeks, all six experimental apartments only received daily written feedback. Relative to the control apartments, the full rebate system yielded a 30 per cent reduction in electricity use while the half rebate and feedback systems yielded 15 per cent. These results were variable across apartments and days. Feedback tended to be less effective on warm days when central air conditioning units were in frequent use. The results of the study were seen as pointing toward the development and evaluation of feedback devices on cooling and heating units.

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