Title: A Behavior and Human Dimensions Program Director
Institution: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
Location: Washington, D.C. USA
ACEEE, founded in 1980 by prominent energy researchers, is today a leading national 501(c)(3) nonprofit research organization with around 50 staff members. ACEEE acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors in the United States.
ACEEE’s overarching goal is to reduce US energy consumption in half by 2050 and lay the groundwork to apply new tools and methods to realize further large-scale energy savings. Energy efficiency is the most cost effective, cleanest, and least wasteful energy resource for the United States today, a resource that can greatly reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Understanding human behavior in energy use is a key element to achieving these goals.
ACEEE’s program areas include: energy policy (federal, state, and local); research (including behavior, buildings and equipment, utilities, industry, agriculture, transportation, economic analysis, finance, and international); and outreach (communications, including press and media, conferences, and development).
ACEEE carries out its mission by conducting in-depth technical and policy analyses; advising policymakers and program managers; working collaboratively with business, government officials, public interest groups, and other organizations (including outreach to non-traditional allies); convening conferences and workshops, primarily for energy efficiency professionals; assisting and encouraging the media to cover energy efficiency policy and technology issues; and educating businesses and the public through reports, conference proceedings, media outreach, and its website.
ACEEE’s technical work is widely relied upon by a broad spectrum of decision makers: government officials, industry leaders, consumers, the media, and other energy professionals. Known for its high quality, and highly practical work, ACEEE approaches policy debates in a nonpartisan way. Thus, ACEEE has achieved an impressive list of accomplishments in its 35-year history as a research organization, including: leading efforts to include appliance and equipment standards in major energy and farm legislation enacted by Congress since 1987; contributing to the development and implementation of utility energy efficiency programs; assisting state and local governments in adopting energy efficiency policies, including model building codes for new homes and commercial structures; and initiating transportation efficiency programs and standards for freight and passenger vehicles.
The 21-member ACEEE Board of Directors is chaired by Carl Blumstein of the California Institute for Energy and Environment, University of California. The board represents a broad spectrum of individuals and organizations from academia, industry, utilities, and non-governmental organizations. The board is responsible for providing overall governance and organizational policy direction.
Steven Nadel is the executive director; he has been with the organization for over 25 years. The research staff which numbers about 30 is led by the associate director for research and includes five program research directors (national policy; transportation; buildings; utilities, state, and local policy; and economics and finance); the Behavior and Human Dimensions Program Director is their peer. The staff also includes other operational directors and associate directors, and a roster of research staff.
ACEEE has convened nearly 100 major conferences and events over the years—6 are scheduled for 2015—and has issued more than 500 research reports and other publications. The organization realizes about 20% of its annual revenues from these conferences, while foundation grants, including grants from the Energy Foundation, Tilia Fund, Kresge Foundation, John Merck Fund, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, MacArthur Foundation, and the Turner Foundation, among others, comprise more than half of ACEEE’s income. Grants from federal and state governments, research contracts, and contributions comprise about 25% of ACEEE’s revenues.
Working collaboratively and with an interdisciplinary approach in physical and social sciences, the ACEEE staff has developed a unique body of knowledge and expertise. ACEEE surveys what is happening in the marketplace, analyzes the technical and economic potential for energy efficiency, seeks to understand consumer energy decisions, and assesses the potential for regulations, policies, and programs to achieve increased energy savings.
THE BEHAVIOR AND HUMAN DIMENSIONS OF ENERGY USE PROGRAM
Behavior is clearly a cornerstone of energy efficiency: it affects the purchases we make, the buildings and systems we design, and how we use energy-consuming equipment. Energy use is determined not just by the equipment purchased, but how it is used. Everything always comes back to behavior, even when the discussion turns upon the installation of technology. No matter how efficient the light bulb standard, people still need to get to the hardware store, select the right bulb, take it home, install it, and use it properly before the benefits can be achieved.
To achieve greater success in developing and implementing energy efficiency, more research is required to better understand the role of the human dimension in adopting effective and enduring energy efficiency behaviors. It is also essential that this research is integrated and more accessible in the marketplace. Understanding how customers think about their energy use can help business and other sectors select technology and engage participants in reducing energy use through energy efficiency improvements. Institutions or agencies working to promote energy efficiency benefits can incorporate a behavioral perspective to improve the reach and impact of their programs. Energy professionals can use social science to shape the ways in which programs can benefit customers and their usage of energy-derived goods and services. For all these reasons, research is needed into the ways users can change their behavior to save energy, and ways that states, utilities, and municipalities can encourage these behaviors.
In 2009, ACEEE started its program on Behavior and Human Dimensions of Energy Use, building on previous work done in this area since the 1980s. The Behavior and Human Dimensions Program is a laboratory where ACEEE tests behavior change strategies and creates tools for developers to incorporate into their programs. ACEEE research focuses on measuring and validating impacts of particular social science-derived insights and techniques. The program analyzes how energy users think about their energy, and how programs, such as next-generation utility programs, can better engage participants in reducing their energy use through energy efficiency improvements.
ACEEE research uses a combination of methods, including qualitative and quantitative analysis, and field research and ethnography. Analysts support energy efficiency programs that work at individual, group, and community scales, since all behavior depends on a combination of our individual psychology and group and community interactions. The programs pays particular attention to energy users as members of communities and social networks: Communicating about social norms—showing customers how their energy use compares to others’—can maximize energy savings. The program promotes the use of usability testing, encourages the adoption of user-centered design, and pays close attention to the technology/behavior nexus.
Several recent projects illustrate this work:
• A pilot program using behavioral strategies to reduce energy use in moderate-income multifamily housing, working closely with the city of Takoma Park, MD
• Research on the use of games to spur individuals to save energy, reviewing a broad array of games and their applications and identifying best practices
• Research on how providing residential customers feedback on their energy use relative to norms in their community can lead to energy savings of 2-10%
• Analyzing consumer decision-making around car purchases
• A report, Trusted Partners: Everyday Energy Efficiency in the South, based on ethnographic fieldwork across the Deep South
• A research report on the effectiveness of feedback to reduce energy use: Results from Recent Real-Time Feedback Studies
• A white paper discussing the state of play in community-based social marketing programs, particularly as they apply to home energy retrofit programs
• The Greening Work Styles report, a collaboration between the ACEEE Behavior and Buildings programs on commercial and institutional workplace engagement programs
• The annual Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference which ACEEE holds each year with Stanford University's Precourt Energy Efficiency Center and the California Institute for Energy and Environment (The 2014 BECC Conference took place in Washington, DC, December 7-10)
The Behavior and Human Dimensions program is cross-cutting and works on engagement strategies for all areas where energy usage is a critical component, including residences, workplaces, manufacturing environments, and the built environment.
ACEEE has developed some critical initiatives in the behavior area in the past few years and wants to continue growing these efforts significantly. This position at ACEEE presents a big challenge, and a big opportunity for the right person.
ACEEE is looking for a dynamic, self-motivated individual with experience and skills in conducting and leveraging research and managing projects on the social, cultural, and behavioral aspects of energy use and energy efficiency practices and investments.
ACEEE is seeking a new director to build on the work already accomplished and to take the program in new directions that builds on the new director’s strengths. The new director will hold a senior leadership position at ACEEE and will have a strong degree of discretion in shaping the work of the program. This is an exciting platform for the right person. The program is cross-cutting and the new director will work closely with the other ACEEE research programs and a network of national experts.
The Behavior and Human Dimensions Program Director will be responsible for directing and growing the ACEEE program. Duties will include:
• Realizing, developing, and leading a visionary research program with new thinking about energy efficiency
• Applying and leveraging peer-reviewed research on behavioral aspects of energy use and energy efficiency practices and investments; developing and maintaining strong area expertise; overseeing quality and relevance of all project work within the Behavior and Human Dimensions program; publishing research findings; and representing ACEEE externally
• Maintaining relationships with behavior professionals and program implementers focused on energy efficiency
• Working closely with other ACEEE program directors on cross-cutting projects, adding a behavioral dimension to the work of other programs
• Identifying new funding support and recruiting new sponsors for the program—ACEEE is committed to funding this program but expansion will require additional new funds for 2016 and beyond. A successful program should have little difficulty attracting new support.
• Collaborating with management on organizational planning and implementation of organizational policies, developing program budgets, priorities, and work plans and overseeing their implementation
QUALIFICATIONS AND ATTRIBUTES
Prospective candidates must be of the highest integrity with a strong commitment to ACEEE’s mission and a zest for the challenge of working as part of a dynamic and growing organization. A strong, practical background in behavioral science and applied research is a prerequisite; credibility is important for this job. While energy efficiency program experience is not a prerequisite, understanding these programs is key.
Candidates should have these demonstrated skills and attributes:
• A Master’s degree (PhD preferred) from an accredited college or university in a behavior-related field (e.g., psychology, sociology, anthropology, behavioral economics) or an interdisciplinary degree with a significant behavioral focus is required
• Fifteen years of experience, including five years of experience working on behavior/human dimension issues. Excellent candidates with less experience may be considered
• Five years of experience in energy and/or environmental field is preferred, including three years of experience working on energy efficiency or behavior/human dimension issues. Familiarity with state and utility energy efficiency programs and practices is desirable
• Accomplishments that demonstrate leadership and an ability to have an impact in terms of advancing energy efficiency
• Demonstrated management abilities including staff supervision and being able to lead and manage multiple, complex projects at the same time and meet project deadlines; is results-oriented
• Proven ability to build consensus and work effectively within and across departmental teams
• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively and independently
• Demonstrated ability to develop and obtain funding for research projects
• Excellent interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills
• Sound judgment and outstanding critical thinking skills
• A spirit of entrepreneurship and initiative, creativity, self-confidence, high energy, and a strong work ethic
Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience, and includes ACEEE’s generous and flexible benefit package, which includes health, dental, vision, and life insurance coverage; a 403(b) retirement plan; transportation and bike share benefits; three weeks’ vacation in the first year and four weeks thereafter.
ACEEE is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination with regard to race, sex, color, age, religion, creed, class, sexual orientation, national origin, and disability.
Resumes should be emailed to:
Mr. Tom Goodwin
Goodwin & Company
Ms. Ellen L. Goldstein
Goodwin & Company