We’re really excited about the results of the Nudge Project. The project involved 10 partner organisations from seven European countries implementing and evaluating different behavioural interventions designed to encourage and promote energy efficiency across five pilot projects. 

The projects targeted consumers in Greece, Belgium, Germany, Portugal and Croatia, in different environments. These included residential homes, energy communities and schools, as well as different age groups and income brackets. Each project employed behavioural change interventions to tackle specific challenges including increasing energy consumption, improving energy knowledge, optimising electric vehicle charging and reducing various forms of energy consumption. 

Most of the pilot projects kicked off with nudging interventions that provided feedback on each participants’ energy consumption, with the aim of increasing their awareness about how much energy they were using. These were followed by more interactive nudges, which involved push notifications, just-in-time prompts, gamification and goal setting.

What’s a nudge?

Nudging is the behavioural science based theory that people are often unable to make good decisions when they lack experience, context, knowledge, or are overcome with inertia.More often than not, we allow our autonomous nervous system to make decisions on our behalf, bypassing the conscious thinking process. The solution involves guiding (nudging) people in the right direction – towards the more beneficial option, which for the purposes of the Nudge Project, was towards saving energy. You can read more about the theory of nudges in our blog, ‘How a nudge can help your customers save energy and water’. 

Why are we excited about the results of the Nudge Project? 

The results of the pilots reveal some very positive examples of energy savings being made as a result of the nudges, which varied from 0.4% to as high as 15%. It proves that nudges, which are the behavioural science based theory behind our customer engagement programmes, can help consumers reduce their energy usage and help us all reach net zero quicker. 

While the pilot projects demonstrated promising results, one of the key takeaways was that it was imperative that the users were carefully profiled and messages were targeted and personalised accordingly. Take a look at the different customer profiles and interventions used

What are behavioural changes?

Behavioural changes are actions that energy consumers can take to reduce or eliminate unnecessary or wasteful energy consumption, for example walking, cycling or taking public transportation instead of driving; moderating the use of heating and air conditioning; replacing airplane flights with train journeys where possible; or choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle or an electric vehicle. Thanks to projects like the Nudge Project, it’s recognised there’s a need to drive more active engagement as well as behaviour change towards more sustainable consumption. 

A successful decarbonisation journey relies on targeting the right customers with the right messages. Lower income families may not be ready to trade in their old car for an EV, but they would certainly benefit from the cost savings that can be achieved by replacing old light bulbs with LEDs and changing their daily habits to reduce their energy or water consumption. 

Sending the wrong messages to the wrong customers will only serve to alienate them and break their trust in your organisation. That’s where customer segmentation and personalisation comes in.

We can help build individual customer profiles, just like the Nudge Project did, with accurate detail relating to their household and their consumption patterns. We do this using data – something that utilities have plenty of, but too many are wasting. We can help you to collate and combine historic and real time billing and meter data alongside data collected from our home surveys and audits, as well as relevant third party data. 

With the aid of data science modelling we can extract valuable insights relating to individual customers, their households, their consumption patterns and their behaviours. 

Subgroups of consumers can then be identified, allowing you to proactively target subsets of customers with messages that are appropriate and personalised. 

To date, most of the progress in working toward the 2050 net zero emissions target has come from the decarbonisation of electricity supply. Moving forward, consumers will need to take on a greater role. The good news is, the public are increasingly aware and supportive of the need to live more sustainably. Are you ready to nudge your customers to a more sustainable future?We’re here to help you and the good news is, we’ve developed plug and play solutions that you can tap into. Discover how easy it is to set up a behavioural science customer engagement programme with us.  Get in touch to find out more.