This presentation is built upon the results of an online survey conducted among 1482 U.S. residents from States of California, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia on their willingness to participate in different demand response (DR) programs based on the collaborative research with power system engineers and social-psychologists. This presentation addresses one DR behavior in particular- voluntarily raising thermostat settings 2-3 °F during peak hours in summer, and focuses on the comparison among low, medium, and high-income groups, as well as a variety of socialpsychological and demographic factors based on extended Theory of Planned Behavior. Our data shows that none of the income groups was significantly more (or less) willing to raise their thermostat settings. However, the social-psychological factors that contribute to the residents’ decision-making varied across income groups. For example, social norms (i.e., family and friends’ expectations) and perceived behavioral control (PBC) mattered more to the low-income group, whereas values (e.g., environmental concern) and energy habits mattered more to the high-income group. Across all income categories, thermal comfort need (i.e., the need for coolness), was negatively predictive of DR participation, while attitudes were positively predictive. Meanwhile, low-income groups reported significantly lower levels of social norms and PBC than other two groups. This study is an early attempt to examine DR potential in light of social concerns, such as income disparity and energy inequality. The findings provide insights for both policy makers and industry practitioners in terms of better designing and implementing DR programs. Distinct opportunities and obstacles should be addressed across different income groups.

Track Speaker 1: Chien-fei Chen

Published in: World Congress on Sustainable Technologies (WCST-2017)

  • Date of Conference: 11-14 December 2017
  • DOI: 10.20533/WCST.2017.0001
  • ISBN: 978-1-908320-78-0
  • Conference Location: University of Cambridge, UK