Running Randomized Field Experiments for Energy Efficiency Programs: A Practitioner’s Guide

Raina Gandhi, Christopher R. Knittel, Paula Pedro, and Catherine Wolfram

July 2016

Researchers and professional evaluators are increasingly turning to randomized field experiments to evaluate energy efficiency programs and policies. This article provides a brief overview of several experimental methods and discusses their application to energy efficiency programs. We highlight experimental designs, such as randomized encouragement and recruit-and-deny, that are particularly well suited for situations where participation cannot be enforced. The article then discusses several implementation issues that can arise and characterizes applications that are a good fit for a randomized experiment. We also address the most common objections to field experiments, and share the best practices to consider when designing and implementing a field experiment in this space.