NYSERDA's Behavior Research Program

Behavioral strategies have the potential to help clean energy programs design and implement more effective programs and close the “energy-efficiency gap”. NYSERDA’s Behavior Research Program can help New York State clean energy programs pilot a behavioral approach via two tracks:

  • Behavior Technical Consulting Services
  • Behavior Proposals

Track 1:

Behavior Consulting Services are available on a first come basis to clean energy programs operating in New York State interested in implementing a behavior pilot to improve the effectiveness of their programs. NYSERDA has contracted with Action Research to provide these services. The total value of behavior consulting services is capped at $45,000/pilot. The behavior services provided to eligible programs include survey and other background research to help identify key opportunities for behavior change and program improvement, experimental design and planning assistance to develop and implement pilots, and evaluation services to measure the net effects of the behavioral strategies. It is the responsibility of the clean energy programs to implement the behavior pilots and to provide the data necessary for evaluation.

Eligibility requirements to receive Behavior Consulting Services include:

  • A New York State location for the pilot.
  • The potential to significantly increase the effectiveness of the clean energy program implementing the behavioral strategy(ies).
  • The ability to measure the effect(s) of the behavior intervention (in utility-provided or customer provided energy/water consumption data).
  • The ability to implement the behavior pilot as designed and (1) maintain a control group(s) that receives the conventional program and (2) maintain a treatment group(s) that receives the behavioral program design.
  • Consent to provide the data required to evaluate the pilot’s success.
  • Consent to allow NYSERDA to disseminate the pilot results to the public.

For more information about NYSERDA’s behavior consulting services [PDF], interested parties should contact Marsha Walton at, (518) 862-1090, extension 3271.

Independent Evaluation Services are provided by Research Into Action under contract to NYSERDA. Eligibility requirements to receive independent evaluation review include status as a behavior pilot that is being funded by NYSERDA. The experimental designs and evaluation plans of the behavior pilots funded by NYSERDA are reviewed by Research Into Action and any deficiencies addressed in the design stage.

Track 2:

Behavior Proposals use insights and decision heuristics, including social norms, risk aversion, time discounting, from the behavior sciences to use behavioral strategies to improve the effectiveness of clean energy programs. Behavior approaches are implemented side by side conventional approaches and the results evaluated to determine the net effects, and the results shared with a broad public via case studies, conference presentations, and published papers. Behavior pilot proposals are solicited via competitive solicitations and evaluated based on soundness of experimental design, implementation plans, the team’s expertise, and the pilot’s potential to achieve its clean energy goals and its scalability. Funding for behavior pilots has been capped at $100,000/pilot but may be expanded for larger projects going forward.

Eligibility requirements to submit Behavior Pilot include:

  • The proposing team must include a behavior expert who is responsible for the design, implementation, and evaluation of the behavior pilot.
  • The pilot must be conducted in New York State.
  • The pilot must include an implementation partner and letter of support from the site owner/operator (if applicable).
  • Consent to allow NYSERDA to disseminate the pilot results to the public

Case Study

History of NYSERDA’s Behavior Research Program

NYSERDA’s Behavior Research Program was initiated in December 2007 when a scoping session linking behavioral research and energy-related decision making was co-hosted by NYSERDA and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Department of EconomicsLink opens in new window - close new window to return to this page.. The scoping session brought together social scientists to present examples of how programs have incorporated findings from the behavioral sciences into their work and to discuss whether NYSERDA should fund research in this area. The consensus of the scoping session was that behavioral approaches have the potential to help clean energy programs in New York State design and implement more effective programs, and NYSERDA’s Behavior Research Program was launched.

In 2008 NYSERDA led a competitive solicitation (RFP 1192 [PDF]) to solicit the services of a behavior expert to provide consulting servicing to clean energy programs in New York. Action Research was selected to provide these services. Working with Action Research and its scientific advisors, NYSERDA’s Behavior Research Program has provided design and evaluation assistance to more than a dozen behavior pilots. The results of these pilots are posted on NYSERDA’s website as they become available.

  • In 2012 and 2013 NYSERDA led a 2-phase competitive solicitation (PON 2631) to provide funding for additional behavior consulting services, behavior pilot proposals, and an independent evaluation consultant to provide expert evaluation advice on the behavior pilots’ experimental designs and evaluation plans to NYSERDA .
Last Updated: 10/06/2014
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How To Participate

Currently there are no active solicitations.

Participation details will be outlined when a new solicitation is available.

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Who Can Participate

Participation will be open to the public. Research projects are competitively awarded based upon the merit of proposals.

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Who To Contact

Marsha Walton
Project Manager
518-862-1090, Ext 3271

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