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Energy labels that make cents: A randomised controlled trial to test the effect of appliance energy rating labels
Last registered on February 28, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Energy labels that make cents: A randomised controlled trial to test the effect of appliance energy rating labels
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002052
Initial registration date
February 28, 2017
Last updated
February 28, 2017 11:53 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Harvard University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2017-02-28
End date
2017-04-19
Secondary IDs
Abstract
Reducing household energy consumption is a key component to boosting Australia’s energy productivity and the Australian Government employs a range of strategies to reduce household energy use and emissions. The Australian Energy Rating Label provides consumers with information about the energy-efficiency of appliances in a standardised format (energy consumption calculated by kWh per year). Evidence suggests that consumer understanding and interpretation of the label could be substantially enhanced. The study aims to examine ways to improve consumer understanding of energy efficiency ratings and the alignment of consumer preferences with their choice in household appliances. In particular, the study aims to test whether a new energy rating label, designed using insights from behavioural economics, might improve customer engagement with higher energy-efficient household appliances.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Hiscox, Michael. 2017. "Energy labels that make cents: A randomised controlled trial to test the effect of appliance energy rating labels." AEA RCT Registry. February 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.2052-1.0.
Former Citation
Hiscox, Michael. 2017. "Energy labels that make cents: A randomised controlled trial to test the effect of appliance energy rating labels." AEA RCT Registry. February 28. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2052/history/14471.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The trial is designed with three experimental arms into which customers visiting the online retailer’s website during the trial period will be randomly assigned. Individuals in the control group will view the website in its current form, with no energy rating labels associated with products. Individuals in the first treatment group will see the same products with the standard energy rating label that is currently mandated for use on those appliances when they are sold in physical (bricks-and-mortar) retail stores in Australia. Individuals assigned to the second treatment group will see the products with the newly designed energy rating label.
Intervention Start Date
2017-02-28
Intervention End Date
2017-03-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The primary outcome is customer engagement with the product, which will be measured by the rate at which customers click to view detailed information about specific test products from the product category (filter) pages.
Secondary outcomes will include: purchasing intent (measured by the rates at which customers click to add test products to their shopping cart), purchases (rates at which customers click to complete payment for test products), and interest in the energy rating label (clicks to view more information about the label).
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
The study will be conducted in partnership with an Australian Government agency and an online retailer. It will use an individually randomised controlled trial with three experimental arms to determine the most effective way to support consumers to purchase products with lower predicted energy consumption over the life cycle of the product (kWh) using energy rating labels. Individuals who visit the online retailer’s website during the trial period will be randomised into one of three experimental arms. Aggregate (non-identified) data on behaviours of individuals in each experimental group will be analysed to assess the effects of different products labels.
Experimental Design Details
Individuals in the control group will view website pages in their current form, with no energy rating labels associated with products. Individuals in the first treatment group will view the current energy rating label positioned on the product category (filter) pages and on the product page for each test product. Individuals in the second treatment group will view the new behavioural economics-informed energy rating label positioned on the filter and product pages for test products. Four product categories will be included in the trial: televisions, fridges, washers and dryers. Within each of the four product categories, labels will be assigned to eight of the most popular products.
Randomization Method
Randomisation will be done by a computer algorithm.
Randomization Unit
At the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
Approximately 48,000 non-unique observations are expected over a 30 day period. The observations are non-unique as individuals can log back into the website several times. We expect to have 13,000 unique observations over a 30-day window.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
We expect to have 13,000 unique observations over a 30-day window. This means approximately 4,333 individuals will be randomised into each of the experimental groups.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
A total of approximately 48,000 non-unique visitors to the filter pages over approximately 30 days will provide at least 80% power for two-sided tests (at the 5% significance level) to detect substantial ≥5% differences in conversion rates between the experimental groups.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
BETA Ethics Committee
IRB Approval Date
2017-02-09
IRB Approval Number
ETH 2017-005
Analysis Plan

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Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers