About this toolkit

The purpose of this online tool is to help policymakers, civil servants or professionals apply insights from behavioural science to demand-side energy policy.

The toolkit was produced as part of The Behavioural Insights Platform Task by The Users TCP. The development was coordinated by The Behaviouralist and funded by Natural Resources Canada, Swiss Federal Office of Energy, Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (United Kingdom), Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, and The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (The Netherlands).

We are particularly thankful to the members of the Behavioural Insights Platform Task who dedicated their time and expertise to this toolkit. These are (in alphabetical order) Paule Anderegg, Cameron Belton, Kevin Chadwick, Victoria Charmet, Emma Claydon, Gerdien de Vries, Thomas Dirkmaat, Hannah Julienne, Matt Naccarato, and Karl Purcell.

What is demand-side energy policy?
Demand-side energy policies refer to policies that manage how people and facilities consume energy. Usually, this involves using policy instruments such as incentives, regulations, and information provision to motivate citizens and businesses to reduce their energy consumption or change how and when they consume energy.

What is behavioural science, and why is it relevant?
Although most citizens and businesses agree that cutting emissions is important, they often fail to take action themselves. This is partly because our decisions are affected by cognitive biases and heuristics – systematic errors and mental shortcuts in thinking and decision making – that often lead us to act against our self-interest. Behavioural science presents us with a structured way of thinking about these biases and provides us with the tools needed to effectively motivate individuals and businesses to reduce their emissions.

How can this toolkit help me?
This toolkit helps you consider different behavioural factors that might affect the success of your policy. It also provides checklists with recommendations that you can apply to increase the chances that your programme will achieve its intended outcomes.

What can the toolkit not do?
This toolkit will not tell you which policy option or approach is best. Choosing between different courses of action will depend on your specific challenge and context. It will, however, help you consider the underlying factors that often remain ignored.

This toolkit will not create "behavioural experts" overnight either. We recommend that you consult specialists in your organisation.

How was this toolkit developed?
The content presented in this toolkit is based on a thorough literature review of academic papers and reports, consultations with behavioural policy experts and extensive testing with policy practitioners. We present this toolkit as an online tool rather than a standard report. This was done in an effort to make the toolkit more accessible and less time consuming to use for policymakers and other practitioners.

What does the Users TCP do?
Users TCP stands for The User-Centred Energy Systems collaboration programme, which is run by The International Energy Agency. The programme’s mission is to provide evidence from socio-technical research on the design, social acceptance and usability of clean energy technologies to inform policymaking for clean, efficient and secure energy transitions. Click here for more information about the Users TCP.

What does The Behaviouralist do?
Our team consists of economists, behavioural scientists, data analysts, and designers. We have a long track record of designing, implementing, and evaluating behaviour change interventions in the energy and policy sectors. We also run workshops on applying behavioural insights in the public sector. Click here more information about The Behaviouralist.

I have other questions
If you have any questions or concerns about this toolkit, please contact The Behaviouralist at admin@thebehaviouralist.com