While the potential for energy conservation attainable via behavioural change seems promising, the best way to design mechanisms to induce such change is still highly debated. The recent paper by Asensio and Delmas casts some light on two novel incentives: messages on health and environmental impacts due to emissions from power generation, and real-time information feedback on appliance-level consumption.

According to an 8-month field trial, combining these two strategies induces energy savings on average of 8%, and as high as 19% for families with children. While answering some questions, the paper also arises some others. How long-lasting are these effects? Is the effectiveness attributable just to the messages or to the to appliance-level feedback? How do these results reconcile with the literature supporting economic incentives or social norms instead?

On the methodological aspect, sub-hourly appliance-level consumption observations were available, but they were resampled to hourly measurements. Do these high-frequency data have some story to tell, or are they just pointless?