Nudging Energy Efficiency Audits: Evidence from A Field Experiment

41 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2017

Date Written: August 26, 2017


This paper uses a randomized field experiment to test how information provision leveraging social norms, salience, and a personal touch can serve as a nudge to influence the uptake of residential energy audits. Our results show that a low-cost carefully-crafted note-card can increase the probability of a household to follow through with an already scheduled audit by 1.1 percentage points on a given day. This implies a boost of the audit uptake rate for our sample by 20 percentage points. The effect is very similar across individuals with different political views, but households in rural areas display a substantially greater effect than those in urban areas. Our findings have important managerial and policy implications, as they suggest a cost-effective nudge for increasing energy audit uptake and voluntary energy efficiency adoption.

Keywords: residential energy efficiency; home energy audits; non-price interventions; information provision; social norms; field experiment

JEL Classification: D03, Q41, Q48

Suggested Citation

Gillingham, Kenneth and Tsvetanov, Tsvetan, Nudging Energy Efficiency Audits: Evidence from A Field Experiment (August 26, 2017). USAEE Working Paper No. 17-320. Available at SSRN: or

Kenneth Gillingham (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

New Haven, CT 06511
United States
203-436-5465 (Phone)


Tsvetan Tsvetanov

University of Kansas ( email )

Lawrence, KS 66045
United States

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