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Moments of Change for Residential Energy Efficiency
Last registered on November 04, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Moments of Change for Residential Energy Efficiency
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004964
Initial registration date
November 01, 2019
Last updated
November 04, 2019 10:19 AM EST
Location(s)

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Request Information
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-10-25
End date
2020-04-30
Secondary IDs
Abstract
People are more likely to change their behaviour during moments of transition in their lives such as moving home, graduating, getting married, and changing job. In the context of increasing residential energy efficiency, it is important to reach homeowners during moments of change such as moving home or carrying out renovation works. As a government agency responsible for encouraging energy efficiency in the Irish residential sector, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) provides grants to homeowners to incentivise retrofit activity. Research by SEAI indicates that the frequency of extensive renovation works is approximately once every 15 years for the average homeowner. Likewise, purchasing a home is an extremely rare event in the average person’s life. The infrequency of such behaviours highlights the importance of ensuring these decisions incorporate an element of energy efficiency. At the same time, 23,000 home extensions were carried out and 68,000 homes were purchased in Ireland last year. This large cohort of homeowners represents an opportunity for a timely communication to be made by SEAI in an effort to encourage energy efficient home renovations. The current project intends to carry out two randomised controlled trials focusing on the renovation and housing markets respectively. Homes that have submitted planning applications or that have been recently purchased will be contacted via mailshot by SEAI. The letters will highlight the benefits of carrying out energy efficiency upgrades in conjunction with renovation works and home purchases, and encourage homeowners to apply for a government grant from SEAI.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
O'Callaghan, Andrew. 2019. "Moments of Change for Residential Energy Efficiency ." AEA RCT Registry. November 04. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4964-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Homeowners will be sent a mailshot containing a letter and a leaflet with information on SEAI grants for energy efficiency upgrades. The letters will highlight the benefits of increasing the energy efficiency of the recipient's home. These benefits include increased comfort, cheaper energy bills, and contributing to Ireland's climate change mitigation effort.
Intervention Start Date
2019-10-25
Intervention End Date
2019-10-26
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Receipt by a homeowner in the sample of a grant from SEAI.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Submission of a grant application by a homeowner in the sample to SEAI.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Two samples are used for this project. The first sample is compromised of homes that have recently applied for planning permission using the National Planning Applications database. For the purposes of the project, this sample is referred to as the Home Renovation sample. The second sample contains recently-purchased second-hand homes obtained from the publically-available Property Price Register. For the purposes of the trial, this sample will be referred to as the Home Purchase sample.

After random assignment to treatment and control groups, treatment households were sent a mailshot containing a letter and an information leaflet. After a four-month period, an address-matching process will be carried out to identify homes from both samples that have received a grant from SEAI to carry out a retrofit.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
The randomisation is carried out by inserting a random number between 0 and 1 into adjacent cells of all addresses, re-ordering addresses in numerical order from smallest to largest based on this random number, and finally assigning addresses in the first half of the sample to the treatment and the second half to the control.
Randomization Unit
Individual randomisation
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
3757 treated homes and 3757 control homes per trial (two trials). 7514 homes per trial (3757 x 2). 15028 homes in total (7514 x 2).
Sample size: planned number of observations
3757 treated homes and 3757 control homes per trial (two trials). 7514 homes per trial (3757 x 2). 15028 homes in total (7514 x 2).
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Home renovation trial: 3757 homes treated, 3757 control.
Home purchase trial: 3757 homes treated, 3757 control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Minimum detectable effect = 1% (standard deviation = 0.1) Sample size = 7514 homes Assumptions: significance = 0.05, power = 80%.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number