“Energy efficiency improvement’ means an increase in energy efficiency as a result of technological, behavioural and/or economic changes” (Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency)


(1.) Project description

(2.) Approach & Procedure

(3.) Methodology ― Nudging

(4.) Impact & Opportunities

(5.) Controlling


(1.) Project description

The main goal of this project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the defence sector by increasing energy efficiency. Tackling climate change implies both ― technical and behavioural instruments.

A smooth energy transition in the defence sector regarding energy consumption requires balancing factual military needs with climate goals. The ANIEE-project focuses on the human factor in energy efficiency.

To do so, a behavioural change methodology specific for the defence sector will be developed, as well as the necessary tools for its implementation. The theoretical background is given by behavioural economics.

Since this project tackles a worldwide problem, it will thoroughly consider the EU-framework programs. Reference can be made to the following EU-framework programs:

  • Fit for 55
  • Green Deal
  • Horizon Europe
  • Next Generation EU


(2.) Approach & Procedure


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To tackle this problems and to reach successfully the proposed solution, the project is split up in four phases. Phase Nr. 1 entails the assessment of existing behavioural change programs on energy efficiency. Phase Nr. 2 develops a defence-specific behavioural change approach – including tools and indicators. Phase Nr. 3 seeks to implement and to monitor behavioural instruments in pilot facilities. Phase Nr. 4 should derive general recommendations for a behavioural program – ideally adapted to national particularities.


(3.) Nudging

Definition: A nudge makes it more likely that an individual behaves in a particular way by altering the environment.

Nudging is a soft but powerful concept. It gives an alternative to (state) intervention like commandments or prohibitions. It rather sets incentives for the intended behaviour. The concept of nudging was insightfully coined by 2017 Nobel Prize winners Thaler und Sunstein (Thaler/Sunstein 2008) to increase energy efficiency.

What is then nudging all about? Its main principle is simple: A nudge makes it more likely that an individual behaves in a particular way by altering the environment. The later is followed by triggering cognitive processes that favour the intended direction (Saghai 2013). A frequently cited example is the image of a housefly in the men’s room urinals to lower cleaning costs (see below). It aims to change people’s behaviour in an intended way without forbidding any options. Therefore, nudges are not mandates.

In a rather subtle way someone should be persuaded to not act or not in a specific way. Incentives like awareness programs, pre-settings, gamification, or social norms are usually used for this purpose.

Nudges are applied by companies as well as by governments in the fields of health, human resources, safety and the environment (Buheji M 2018). This project aims to look for applications and adaptations of nudging in the realm of energy efficiency. Furthermore, a methodology based on nudges has the advantage of being cheaper and more acceptable.

Nudging instruments can be foud in several fields:


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Nudges in energy efficiency

When intending to influence energy consumtion, you hav to keep in mind that energy is an auxiliary good. It has no benefit in itselft but it is necessary to get the benefits of services provided by several apliances, electronics, etc.

“Energy consumption is based on routine, automatic behaviour rather than on deliberate choices”(OECD 2017)

This fact can be seen as a problem and opportunity to change behaviour in energy consumption Being a routine behaviour, it is strongly dependent on automatic processes.

And this automated processes must be influenced to change the routines. But once routines have been changed, the changes have a long-lasting persistence.


3.1.) Two ways of thinking

There are two systems of the brain to form thoughts: system 1 and system 2 (Kahnmann 2011).

System 1 is fast, unconscious, automated, and emotional.
System 2 is slow, conscious, logical and calculating.

Awareness is only a part of the broader concept of behaviour change instruments to affect individual behaviour. Moreover, people do something because they know it is good and don’t do/ omit something because they know it is bad. Awareness therefore works with System 2.

Individual choice can be influenced by system 2. In general, all instruments that ease intended behaviour and complicate unintended behaviour. This can be done for example by setting intended behaviour as the default option. People tend to choose the salient option.

System 1 is based on decision heuristics. It bases decision on existing patterns rather than creating new ones.

Because of these two Systems the idea is to work with both, conscious as well as unconscious motivation.

Individuals are unaware of the nudge (unconscious motivation). For this reason, nudging works with both systems.


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(3.2.) Types of behavioural interventions

Behavoural interventions aimed at System 1 includes persuasive nudges. This type of nudges interacts directly with the person's senses and hides itself in everyday activities, e.g. when shopping or talking a walk. 

Behavoural interventions aimed at System 2 are cognitive nudges. They require a conscious engagement from the person, since it tackles deeper cognitive activities such as logical processes or calculations and demands a higher level of awareness. 

Interventions can occure in two ways: structural and psychological interventions. Structural interventions target the general external conditions in which behaviour takes place. Psychological interventions are aimed at changing interior individual-level variables (e.g., awareness, norms, attitudes, knowledge, etc). For instance, providing feedback information (Steg L. et al 2018).


The following graphic illustrates the typ of interventions for the two systems of thinking.


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Examples of System 1-Nudges:

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Examples of System 2-Nudges:

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(4.) Impact & Opportunities

The project reaches different areas of impact. On the one hand, it gives a new input to the defence sector regarding why climate crisis is also an important issue within the sector and how to tackle it. On the other hand, it traces an useful relation between behavioural sciences and energy efficiency.

In that respect, some of the most prominent impacts and opportunities that result from the project scope and outcomes, are these: 21.01. - Impact_Graphik.png



(5.) Controlling

The success and course of the project will be monitored by using the predefined key performance indicators (KPI). The impact analysis will be carried out in accordance with the PDCA-controlling-cycle  (plan - do – check - act), an iterative process of defining targets, planning, implementing measures, monitoring outcomes, taking revisionist measures and assessing results (measure degree of target achievement). The following schema is contextualized in accordance with the actual project. It draws up the control cycle emphasizing in each step.


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The evaluation process consists of a threefold temporal analysis:

In statu quo ante: Before taking measures (initial situation, starting point).

In statu quo: While taking measures, accompanying impact analysis.

In statu quo post: After taking measures.

Key pieces any evaluation process are data collection and analysis. The starting point of an incentive program on energy efficiency is the collection of accurate data on consumption before, during and after an intervention is made. We intend to use the data basis on energy consumption in military facilities with an well equipped metering infrastucture. In  in a field lab situation, with permanent data collection, behavior instruments will be implemented and tested. To do that our data analysis will use an analysis tool (energy efficiency calculator) to measure key performance indicators.