Behaviour change for energy efficiency: Opportunities for international cooperation in the G20 and beyond

28 Sep 2018

The Argentinian Ministry of Energy (MEN), the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation (IPEEC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) convened a one-day scoping workshop on ‘Behaviour Change for Energy Efficiency: Opportunities for International Cooperation in the G20 and beyond on 12 September 2018 in Paris. This event invited participants from IPEEC, IEA and G20 economies – as well as other IOs, research organisations, and advocacy bodies working in this field to discuss how behavioural science can strengthen energy efficiency policies, and to share country-specific experiences in addressing the related challenges and solutions across economic sectors.

Energy users’ behaviour is a key factor influencing the way they respond to energy efficiency policies and whether they choose (or not) to adopt energy efficient technologies and services. Therefore, incorporating an understanding of energy users’ behaviour into the design of policies, business models and technologies is crucial for realising energy efficiency goals. Recognising this, behaviour change surfaced as an important subject to boost the impact of energy efficiency policies at the last G20 Energy Ministers’ meeting held on 15 June 2018 in Bariloche, Argentina (see Communique here). At the meeting, G20 Energy Ministers agreed to launch new work on this topic under the G20 Energy Efficiency Leading Programme.

A recap of the behaviour change workshop

The morning session of the workshop focused on the introduction of behaviour change in the field of energy efficiency, featuring speeches and presentations from participating  countries, including Argentina, Japan, Ireland and Saudi Arabia, international organisations including the IEA, as well as private companies such as Opower, and Advizzo. They touched upon various behavioural issues including loss aversion, social norming, and hyperbolic discounting, for instance. Examples of programmes presented included Cool Biz in Japan, home energy reporting in Ireland and Japan, mobility apps in the US, and community campaigns in Saudi Arabia.

The afternoon breakout sessions were led by expert moderators and covered the buildings/ appliances, industry and transport sectors. Each breakout session invited countries to present their hands-on sectoral experiences (UK, Mexico, Argentina), and were followed by group discussions on the opportunities for international collaboration on how behavioural sciences can be applied to energy efficiency policies to enhance their effectiveness. The transport and buildings sessions discussed the notion of enticing users to purchase efficient products, use products efficiently, and choose efficient consumption modes. The industry session explored multiple ways to promote energy networks and improve energy management systems.

Opportunities for international cooperation

Participants identified various potential options for future international collaboration, including data collection, information sharing, standards setting and education programmes. The idea of creating a platform for exchange between national behaviour change units was also proposed. Argentina and Japan, as the current and incoming G20 Presidencies, encouraged countries and organisations to identify concrete steps to translate this G20 political agreement into solid action. Argentina encouraged all stakeholders to continue to discuss how to incorporate behaviour change in IPEEC Task Groups activities and keep the momentum going under next year's G20.

IPEEC will continue to play a central role in coordinating behaviour change as a topic under the framework of the G20 EELP. Please read our background note for this workshop for detailed information on behaviour change in the field of energy efficiency by sectors.

Click here for the outcome report and visit our event page for more information.