Chapter 6, "The Household Sector"

This chapter identifies the wide range of private initiatives that target household carbon emissions and explains how expanding existing initiatives and developing new ones could reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions reductions by roughly a half billion tons over the next decade.

Drawing on research from psychology, sociology, economics, and law, the chapter examines ways to overcome barriers to exploiting the household sector potential. It then uses the three-part analytical framework introduced earlier in the book to examine the technical potential, behavioral plasticity, and initiative feasibility of existing and potential new household private governance initiatives. The initiatives that emerge as most promising include a set of 16 “behavioral wedge” actions that could achieve close to the half-billion ton goal. These behavioral wedge actions include promoting home weatherization, promoting more efficient home appliance purchases, improving motor vehicle maintenance practices, and thermostat set-backs. The chapter notes that the behavioral wedge actions are just the beginning, and it suggests that by attacking market and behavioral failures, additional private initiatives can achieve major additional reductions. Examples include efforts to include energy data in multiple listing service disclosures for new and existing homes, efforts to provide homeowners with immediate feedback on energy use, and others.