For the last five years, OPower has harnessed the power of peer pressure to dramatically reduce residential energy consumption. A company that runs innovative energy-efficiency programs for utilities, OPower’s neighborhood energy challenge competitions have evolved into the largest behavior change experiment in the world. In the 70 utility districts participating in the OPower program, utility customers receive inserts in their utility bills that allow them to compare their energy usage to their neighbors, to make smarter decisions about their energy use, and to help them save on their bills.
The results are powerful. OPower has discovered that 20% of residential energy consumption can be saved by encouraging better behavior through social pressure. This translates into roughly 5% of the annual energy consumption in the United States, equal to $40 billion per year. This energy does not improve wellbeing or create jobs, but contributes to climate change and other societal costs.
By making energy information more visible and engaging, OPower is helping homeowners save more than 2 Terawatt hours per year – enough to power half the homes in Seattle!