How do small businesses experience energy reports that benchmark their performance relative to similar businesses and provide recommendations to save energy? There is a large body of research focused on energy feedback in the residential sector, but significantly less in the commercial sector. Studies in both sectors have focused on the effectiveness of feedback in terms of savings outcomes, while relatively little is known about how customers experience the interface itself. This paper presents a synthesis of results from a series of user research studies conducted with small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada, the United States, and Australia. Results provide insights into aspects of energy reports business customers attend to or ignore, what information they value, whether and how they take action based on the reports, and barriers to taking action. Our findings highlight distinct areas utilities can focus on to improve business energy reports, including ways to reduce barriers to action and the need for energy reports to be carefully and precisely tailored.
Suggested citation: Cornish, Laura, Beth Karlin, Angela Sanguinetti, Jason Kaufman (2016) How Do Small Businesses Experience Energy Reports? Proceedings of American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy 2016 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.