Instruments to promote energy savings
There are many different instruments that you can use to promote energy savings by end-users. All these instruments have different characteristics that determine their effects on the energy behaviour of the target group and the adaptation of the instruments to your context. The success of the different instruments is also influenced by different factors. We focus on instruments that are relevant for intermediairy organisations, therefore we do not elaborate on such policy instruments as regulation and R&D support. See below for more details on the different instruments, the behaviours they target and key points influencing their successful use. For more details, see CHANGING BEHAVIOUR Deliverable 5: Interaction Schemes for Successful Energy Demand Side Management
- Financial instruments and subsidies. These promote energy efficient technologies and measures by reducing the investment costs (for example subsidies for energy audits or investments, soft loans with subsidized interest rates). These instruments are usually profitable for the end-user at the long term.
- Fiscal incentives. These aim to reduce the tax on energy efficient measures (for example tax credits, tax deductions or accelerated depreciation rates).
- Contextual factors: availability and quality of technologies, ability to inform end-users about subsidies and fiscal measures, demography, energy prices, integration between energy efficiency policy and other sectoral policies, etc.
- Programme characteristics: adequate information for end-users, easy and short application procedures, focus on investments with long payback time and high efficiency gains or innovative technologies, subsidies on energy audits, etc.
- Design factors: good combination of financial and informational incentives (if needed in combination with technical and organisational support), fit to decision making process of end-user, etc.
- Process factors: simple and easy administration of the programme.
- Contextual factors: use of topic that is positively valued in society, connection to other similar projects to increase mutual collaboration and repetition of message via different channels, etc.
- Programme characteristics: simple, fun and easy message, a mutually reinforcing programme including attention for messenger, goals, design of message, approach of end-users, choice and use of communication channels, etc.
- Design and process factors: design should be based on theories of human behaviour and communication on different levels, the right marketing mix of products, prices, placement and promotion, etc.
- Contextual factors: existing systems of energy metering and billing, innovative utilities, existing payment system, legal requirements, use of smart meters, status of metering markets, cultural differences in preferences for presenting information, etc.
- Programme characteristics: informative billing and metering for residential customers and businesses, related to actual consumption, comparative standards, etc.
- Design factors: (interactive) media and mode of presenting energy use information, written material, electronic meter or interactive tools via internet, timing and control of information, etc.
- Process factors: frequency of feedback, combined feedback with incentives or targets for energy saving, link to individual activities of consumers, etc.
- Contextual factors: availability of impartial and qualified auditors, supportive policy framework, subsidies and refunds for investments, etc.
- Programme characteristics: most feasible for larger energy users (organisations), including subsidies for audit costs, ‘one-shop-stop’ (auditor providing multiple services), etc.
- Design factors: training and certification of auditors, standardised process, etc.
- Process factors: communication and involvement end-users, identification of target group and their needs, marketing efforts, evaluation of outcomes, etc.
- Contextual factors: availability of local (impartial) institutions for advice, supportive policy framework, etc.
- Programme characteristics: impartial expertise, technology independent advisors, grounding in clients needs, integrated and single issue advice, etc.
- Design factors: multiple benefits to clients, personalised advice, communicative and technical skills of advisers with social and market knowledge, etc.
- Process factors: tailoring advice, reaching customers at right time, develop right partnerships, effective adviser training and continuous updating of knowledge, bridging gap between information and implementation, etc.
- Contextual factors: social pressure or systems of social control, etc.
- Programme characteristics: including supporting instruments and regulations, positive incentives combining goal-setting with feedback, etc.
- Design factors: target setting must be open and transparent, clarity on commitments on both sides, adoption of new roles and responsibility, impartial intermediaries are relevant, good communication, networks among participants, support a long-term change process, etc.
Voluntary programmes and negotiated agreements have a range of ‘soft effects’ like capacity building, increasing awareness, empowerment and transfer of responsibilities from authorities and experts to energy end-users themselves.