Energy, Technology, and Behavior

Interactions that affect energy savings

In the United States and around the world, we are grappling with the challenge of meeting energy needs in ways that are economically, socially, and environmentally sound. To avoid trial and error in this endeavor, we must understand and anticipate the implications of our choices and move forward with the best opportunities for optimizing energy efficiency and supply in all spheres — humanely, sustainably, and economically.

The Energy, Technology, and Behavior Initiative emphasizes the role of human behavior in achieving energy-efficiency and energy-savings goals. It builds on Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s extensive experience in analyzing decision making and behavior in markets and other contexts to focus on today’s energy challenges. The initiative’s work provides insights to enhance the energy-savings potential of technologies, policies, and programs through analyzing the actions and decisions of individuals and organizations and identifying their intentional and unintentional consequences.

Market Structure and Behavior — Forces and institutions that drive behavior

  • Delineating key decision-making groups: supply-chain, intermediary, and end user
  • Analyzing technology transfer, commercialization, manufacture, distribution, adoption, and market penetration
  • Providing strategic input for market transformation planning

  • Social, Institutional, and Economic Behavior — Informing technology, program, and policy design

  • Focusing on choice behavior—adoption and persistence
  • Integrating dynamic social, institutional, and economic contexts
  • Anticipating responses to emerging and evolving technologies
  • Technology & Resource Dynamics — Anticipating behavioral consequences of major transitions

  • Developing and employing models of market and societal impacts
  • Creating technology and program roadmaps
  • Producing and implementing tools that inform the management of transitions
  • Policy Analysis and Behavior — Incentives and disincentives

  • Comparing tradeoffs among alternative policy strategies and tools
  • Foreseeing intended and unintended consequences
  • Incorporating energy, economic, social, environmental, and security perspectives
  • Evaluation of Energy and Non-energy Impacts — Design, implementation, data management, and analysis

  • Analyzing R&D investment choices and their payoffs
  • Defining metrics to support quantifiable evaluations
  • Evaluating interim and final processes and outcomes
  • For more information, contact:
    Amy K. Wolfe (, 865-574-5944)
    Melissa V. Lapsa (, 865-576-8620)