'Renovate or Rebuild' a full series evaluation

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‘Renovate or Rebuild’ full series evaluation Report at a glance

Final report


RACE for Homes Program ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV Series Research Evaluation

Danie Nilsson Lygia Romanach Elisha Frederiks Chi-Hsiang Wang

Project Code: 21.H2.S.0206 Copyright © RACE for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre ISBN: 978-1-922746-17-7 November 2022

Citation Nilsson, D., Romanach, L., Frederiks, E., Wang, C. (2022). ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV Series Research Evaluation: Report at a glance of key findings. RACE for 2030 CRC.

Project partners

What is RACE for 2030? Reliable, Affordable Clean Energy for 2030 (RACE for 2030) is an innovative collaborative research centre for energy and carbon transition. We were funded with $68.5 million of Commonwealth funds and commitments of $280 million of cash and in-kind contributions from our partners. Our aim is to deliver $3.8 billion of cumulative energy productivity benefits and 20 megatons of cumulative carbon emission savings by 2030. racefor2030.com.au

Report at a glance What is the report? The report is a scientific evaluation of the ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV series - an Australian lifestyle and reality television show about residential real estate with an overarching goal to stimulate the sustainable housing market in Australia.

Why is it important? Increasing the market for sustainable and energy efficient housing is critical and urgent to reduce Australia’s residential carbon emissions. Reality television is a powerful tool to reach large audiences and influence viewers’ behaviour, including purchasing decisions and actions, at scale. Therefore, using an innovative approach, the ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV series, utilised behavioural science strategies to communicate about residential energy efficiency to a mass audience, with the aim of influencing demand for sustainable features and housing. This report evaluates the impact the show had on real world audiences, identifying the behavioural science strategies that appear to have been effective in influencing consumers’ self-reported awareness, desire, and/or behaviour towards residential energy efficiency. Understanding the successful strategies is important to inform future communication strategies in this space.

What did we do? We conducted a study running three longitudinal online surveys with a sample of 5,142 Australian adults to compare data from real world viewers and online panel participants (non-viewers). This was followed by four online focus group discussions with viewers of the show. The intended aims of the research were to measure overall levels of audience self-reported interest and engagement in the TV series and empirically evaluate the extent to which the ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV series was successful in enhancing the awareness and desire for sustainable housing features and energy efficient homes among its audience of Australian viewers.

What difference will it make? The results of the evaluation suggest that the ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV series had a positive influence on a proportion of the viewers, who self-reported an increase on their willingness to invest in residential energy efficiency above the minimum standards. In addition, while out of the scope of this report, the ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ TV series was part of a highly collaborative mass media communications approach to mainstream sustainable housing in Australia that included a range of project partners. The evaluation provides support and recommendations for this innovative and strategic communications approach, holding important lessons that could assist government and industry to further influence demand for sustainable homes and support its uptake in Australia.

What next? Due, in part, to the evaluation demonstrating successful potential impact of the show, filming of Season 2 of ‘Renovate or Rebuild’ has begun, which will generate further audience reach and industry partnerships. This provides further research opportunities to measure more objectively the show’s impact on increasing the demand for residential energy efficiency (e.g., by identifying, collecting, and analysing sales data of energy efficiency products from the show sponsors). Relatedly, it may also provide opportunities for evaluating the ‘flowon’ effects of advertisements aired during the TV show as well through other marketing or promotional media activities related to the TV show (and similar home renovation TV shows). Finally, further scientific investigation is currently being undertaken into how the behavioural science and mass media approach used in this study could be effectively adapted to communicate with broad audiences on a wider range of sustainability issues.


© 2021: RACE FOR 2030

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