Yesterday, our President Alex Laskey took the stage at TED2013 — the annual conference of movers and shakers, who assemble to give awe-inspiring lectures about their ideas and vision for the world. Alex fit right in, sharing his insights on the “Psychology of Saving Energy,” and how Opower has tapped into it to help customers save more than $220 million on their energy bills in the past five years.
Alex was in great company: earlier in the day, Google co-founder Sergey Brin gave a presentation about the revolutionary Google Glass. Also in the spotlight was famed entrepreneur Elon Musk, who spoke about his groundbreaking initiatives on electric cars and space travel.
Alex’s TED talk focused on the science behind Opower’s approach, in particular highlighting the work of the behavioral scientists Robert Cialdini and Wesley Schultz. In the early 2000s, Cialdini and Schultz set out to determine what motivates people to decrease their energy use, and arrived at an eye-catching conclusion. They found that one of the strongest motivators of energy conservation was giving people information on how their energy usage compares with that of similar homes in their neighborhood — a sort of peer pressure.
Behavioral science has always been central to Opower’s efforts to make the world more energy efficient, and the results of our behavior-based programs have been dramatic: in January, we achieved a milestone of achieving two terawatt hours of energy savings — enough to take all the homes in a city the size of Sacramento (~500,000 people) off the electric grid for a year.
Speaking at TED2013 was an exciting honor for Alex and for Opower. We can’t wait to share the full video of his talk in the near future.