Our team uses a variety of methods to model the beliefs and behaviors related to efficiency, conservation, and environmental health, on both the individual consumer and population level.

New energy technologies affect households in a number of ways, for example through local pollution exposure and impacts on monthly budgets. Technologies also impact communities, nations, and global welfare extending far into the future. Our research team has examined the multidimensional impacts of new energy technologies on individual, community, and social decision-making, summarized in our paper “Integrating social science in climate and energy solutions: A decision science approach” in the journal Nature Climate Change.

As an example, we have conducted several research projects examining household perceptions of smart meter technologies, including perceptions of their risks and benefits, how to design smart meter enabled devices to maximize learning, and how to evaluate those devices to establish their causal impact on energy use.

Another example is how decision-makers perceive risks from extreme events. Global climate change affects not only global temperature, but also the frequency and severity of extreme events like tornadoes and floods. We have conducted projects examining the cues individuals use to determine whether there is a tornado threat, and how individuals accumulate their perception of flood risks over time.

We have also examined the tradeoffs individuals are willing to make with respect to emissions and pollution impacts, as well as resilience in the face of power outages.

Featured paper: Integrating social science in climate and energy solutions