How Do We Really Spur Home Energy Upgrades? Persuasive Assessment Reports

By Dr. Reuven Sussman, Senior Research Manager, Behavior & Human Dimensions Program

In a world of 280-character tweets, people have limited attention spans. So to nudge them toward making energy efficiency upgrades, home assessment reports need to grab their attention in the first few pages, according to ACEEE research that evaluated the eye-tracking habits of potential customers.

Energy Efficiency Programs Costs Utilities 2 to 3 Times Less Than Traditional Power Sources; Average of 2.8 Cents per Kilowatt Hour

According to reports released for years by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). That is because energy efficiency is the cheapest method of providing Americans with electricity.

As a result, energy efficiency programs aimed at reducing energy waste cost utilities only about three cents per kilowatt hour. However generating the same amount of electricity from sources such as fossil fuels ugh. Since it seems like it can cost two to three times more.

To nudge people towards making energy efficiency upgrades, home assessment reports need to grab their attention in the first few spots!

“Customers stop reading after about four or five pages” said one assessor. Experts in graphic design, behavioral science, and energy efficiency assessment reviewed 42 sample reports with the goal of improving the assessment reports and increasing the number of home upgrades. Almost nine million households were assessed as of 2015, but the reports can be difficult to understand or are unpersuasive.

In addition, expert comments reflected ACEEE’s findings from the eye-tracking study. Information presented first receives more attention, regardless of how interesting or important it is. Furthermore, reports should begin with a personalized narrative summary along with key tables to ensure the customer can quickly make an informed decision. Interested customers can always look in the back of the report or an appendix for more details…

To read the report, visit:

To download the tip sheet, visit:

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