We use behavioural insights to design nudges leveraging social comparison and assignment of responsibility aimed at reducing electricity consumption in a large provincial government office building with 24 floors. Results from a randomized control trial show that floors participating in a treatment with inter-floor competitions and tips reduced energy consumption by 9%, while those that also included floor-wise ‘energy advocates” reduced energy consumption by 14% over a period of 5 months.
Energy: Demand and Supply
Addressing the large energy consumption of hotels requires an understanding of the factors that drive this consumption. This enquiry is crucial for South Africa which has experienced significant strain in meeting its domestic energy demand. This has occurred alongside increases in international tourists, adding to the pressure on already strained resources. This paper tests hypotheses on drivers of energy consumption in hotels using a novel panel dataset which presents daily consumption data for 22 hotels across South Africa.
The South African economy has suffered over the past decade due to a lack of adequate electricity supply. With two new coal-fired power stations, Kusile and Medupi, scheduled to come online over a six year period (2014-2019), their additional generation capacity is expected to restore electricity reserve margins and facilitate increased growth and investment in the local economy.
By international standards the economy of South Africa is extremely energy intensive with only a few countries having higher intensities. SA’s primary energy use per unit of GDP is amongst the highest in the world. The high energy and electricity intensity of the economy partly reflects SA’s resource endowments (in particular the abundance of coal) but is also a function of the historical under-pricing of coal and electricity by the authorities. South African mining & industrial electricity efficiency is particularly concerning and considerably lower than the global average.
Overreliance on biomass energy, such as firewood and charcoal, for cooking in developing countries has contributed to high rates of deforestation and resulted in substantial indoor pollution which has negatively impacted the health of many individuals. However, the effectiveness of public policies aimed at encouraging households to switch to cleaner fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene, hinges on the extent to which they are mentally committed to specific fuels.