About ICF
Karen Ehrhardt-Martinez
Director, Behavioral Science and Customer Insights
Karen has more than 20 years of experience working as a consultant, program manager, and researcher.

Karen is internationally recognized for her work on the human dimensions of energy efficiency, conservation, and environmental sustainability. With more than 20 years of experience working as a consultant, program manager and researcher (both quantitative and qualitative), Karen worked with policymakers, planners, real estate professionals, utilities, governmental bodies, and nonprofit organizations to design, enhance and evaluate the performance of programs that shift energy use practices, reduce energy consumption and eliminate energy waste in homes and commercial buildings in the U.S. and abroad.

Recently, Karen’s work included studies on electric vehicle adoption and charging patterns as well as research to better understand customer perceptions and performance in modern rate structures. Her unique knowledge and application of social and behavioral science to energy and climate challenges helps her clients identify innovative means for increasing program participation, technology adoption, and energy savings.

Karen is a cofounder of the internationally recognized, Behavior, Energy and Climate Change (BECC) Conference, serving as the 2009 BECC Conference Chair, and has provided expert testimony before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment to the U.S. House Committee on Science and Technology.

Earlier in her career, Karen served as a social science expert and customer research specialist at Guidehouse/Navigant. She also directed the Climate, Mind, and Behavior Program at the Garrison Institute, and established the social and behavioral research program at American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Karen is a co-author of two chapters in “Climate Change and Society” (Oxford University Press) and a member of the editorial board for the journal Energy Efficiency. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from The Ohio State University, focusing on environmental sociology and social change.

"Technology is only half of the solution. Embracing new energy opportunities requires a better understanding of the human dimensions of our energy culture."
Publications
  • “Time of Use Rates and Behavior Change: How People Respond and Why.” 2020. Proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. Washington, DC.: ACEEE.
  • “Moving from Energy Customers to Energy Partners” Energy Central, May 28, 2020.
  • “Behavior Wedge Profiles for Cities.” Proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy-Efficiency in Buildings. Asilomar, CA. August 2016.
  • “Behavior-based Energy Savings Opportunities in Commercial Buildings: Estimates for 4 U.S. Cities.” Proceedings of the ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. Asilomar, CA. August 2016.
  • “Consumption and Climate Change,” with Juliet Schor. In “Climate Change and Society”, American Sociological Association and Oxford University Press. 2015.
  • “Mitigating Climate Change,” with Norgaard, Kari; Rudel, Tom; and Jeffrey Broadbent. In “Climate Change and Society,” American Sociological Association and Oxford University Press. 2015.

Insights