Making green energy the default option leads to an enduring shift towards renewable energy, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.
Researchers at the University of Warwick analysed data from two Swiss energy suppliers who between them supplied green energy to around 234,000 households and 9,000 businesses in urban and rural areas.
They found that both business and private customers largely accepted the default option, even though it was slightly more expensive, and the switch to green sources proved a lasting one.
Supplier A saw a drop in private customers on the conventional tariff from 97% to 15% following the introduction of the green default.
By year 6, 80% of households were still on the green tariff. For SMEs, the fall was smaller – from 97% to 23%, with 71% still on the green option in year 6.
Supplier B saw similar results, with a change from 98.8% of households using conventional energy to just 11% after the introduction of the green default.
For SMEs supplied by company B, the fall was from 99.3% to 15.3% on the non-renewable package.
Further analysis of the data showed that women were around 6% more likely than men to accept the green default, while women business owners were 8 per cent more likely to stick with the renewable package.
Professor Liebe, from the University of Warwick, said: ‘Our study shows that ‘green defaults’ have an immediate, enduring impact and as such should be part of the toolkit for policymakers and utility companies seeking to increase renewable energy consumption, not only among household customers but also in the business sector.’
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