Energy, Utility & Environmental

For the last two decades, Shugoll Research has conducted research for utilities and non profits that focus on energy efficiency and the environment.   Our studies have evaluated energy appliance labeling, energy usage and conservation, home insulation, deregulation of the utilities industry, the Energy Star program and a sister international program, target market segmentation for utility/energy providers, customer satisfaction, global warming/climate change, and effectiveness of communications campaigns. 

A large part of our business is answering critical questions and providing actionable direction. Here are some of the questions Shugoll Research has helped Energy, Utility & Environmental clients answer over the years:

Energy, Utility & Environmental


  • Q
    How would we segment consumers to effectively maximize purchases of energy efficient appliances?
  • A

    Using a two stage research process, Shugoll Research would first conduct qualitative research (in-depth interviews, or focus groups or ethnographies) with different segments of consumers (new home buyers, home owners with older homes, etc.) to explore their views on energy efficiency and energy efficient appliances and test alternative message benefits. A large sample segmentation study with consumers across the country would follow to measure consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding energy efficient appliances, profile attitudinally and behaviorally the segments of the population most likely to purchase energy efficient appliances and identify the most effective messages to motivate these segments to purchase energy efficient appliances. Specifically, a Maximum Difference Scaling (Max-Diff) analysis was used to better understand the effect of various message combinations on consumer behavioral intent.

  • Q
    How do we determine the energy label design that has the most impact on appliance purchases and perceptions of appliance quality and value?
  • A

    Shugoll Research conducted a simulated shopping experiment to closely approximate how consumers react to appliance energy labels in a real-world setting. Multiple brands of appliances and multiple models within brands were used in the experiment. Real-world prices and point of purchase marketing materials were also made available for all models. Shugoll Research prefers this type of research design over a survey because it comes closer to predicting future purchase behavior. Consumer behavior was observed, purchase decisions were recorded and study participants were asked to complete a series of questions about their experiences. Results were used to finalize the energy label that is in use on appliances in retail settings.

  • Q
    As a utility company, how would we go about developing a brand name and logo for two business service units that we are combining?
  • A
    Shugoll Research is a recognized leader in branding research which includes brand name development. We recommend conducting a multistage research project that would begin with a brainstorming session with the client project team and its branding company to discuss and generate a number of names for testing. Qualitative research with decision makers at small and medium sized businesses would be conducted in order to identify the top three brand names. Logo treatments for each of the three brand names would be developed and a quantitative survey would be conducted with the same target audiences to identify the most preferred/salient name and logo treatment.
  • Q
    How do we develop communications messages to inform the public about environmental issues and garner support for legislation?
  • A
    Many environmental advocacy organizations need to communicate with the public and policy elites/influencers to gain support for their causes. Shugoll Research has conducted a number of such studies to aid in developing campaigns for clients who represent environmental issues and causes. One such well received study was related to global warming, and results were used to identify the most effective communications approach and specific language that should be used to best convey the message. Focus group research was conducted with two segments of respondents: (1) members of the public who are somewhat concerned about global warming, yet remain uncommitted to the issue and (2) those who are very concerned about the issue and are engaged in environmental causes. Focus groups were conducted across the country in the South, Mid-West and West Coast. Results suggested the public is receptive to the campaign message but want to know more about how global warming affects them, what they can do about the issue and where they can get more information.

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Selected Energy, Utility & Environmental Clients

  • Alliance to Save Energy
  • American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
  • BGE (Baltimore Gas and Electric)
  • Columbia Energy Group
  • ExxonMobil Oil Corporation
  • Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO)
  • Constellation Energy
  • National Wildlife Federation (NWF)
  • BP Global
  • IFC International
  • Washington Gas