Hilary has current studies on the following topics:

Public Perceptions of Extreme Weather Events

Interventions Designed to Encourage Household Energy Conservation

Hilary is part of the following research networks:

Public perceptions of unconventional oil and gas development


The goal of this line of research (with Chris Clarke and others) is to examine public perceptions of unconventional oil and gas development via high volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) using nationally representative survey data. Our Energy Policy piece on this topic reached the most downloaded in the journal.

Public views of fossil fuel export in the Pacific Northwest


The goal of this project is to better understand public opinions and responses to proposals for fossil fuel export in the Pacific Northwest.

Project funded by:


Community Reactions to Extreme Weather Events


The goal of this project (with Doug McAdam) is to understand under what conditions and via what mechanisms communities undertake significant climate-related actions – in terms of collective mobilization and governmental policy – following an extreme weather event.

Project funded by:


Girls Learning Environment and Energy (GLEE)

The goal of this project (with Tom Robinson, Nicole Ardoin, Carrie Armel and June Flora) was to design and implement a community-based intervention to reduce household energy use. We conducted a successful randomized controlled trial with 30 Girl Scout troops to assess two behavior change interventions focused on energy use in (1) residences and (2) for food and transportation.

The results, published in Nature Energy, demonstrate that a behavioral intervention targeting Girl Scouts can improve their energy conservation behaviors and provides evidence of diffusion of behavior changes from children to their parents/families. We have since developed an online course to help troop leaders implement our energy-saving programs with their own troops.

Project funders and partners:


Smart and Connected Kids for Sustainable Energy Communities

Girls Learning Environment and Energy

This project (with Ram Rajagopal, Mahnoosh Alizadeh, and June Flora) – which builds off of the GLEE program describe above – will employ a series of energy use interventions in the community of Fremont, California, engaging children, youth and their families. The interventions will take advantage of new smart grid technologies, in particular, high-resolution energy data now available via smart metering and increasingly smart devices and appliances. Novel data-driven understandings of energy behavior will permit segmenting households according to their energy-use lifestyles via the Visualization and Insight System for Demand Operations and Management (VISDOM) platform. We believe that (and will test whether) a novel intertwining of revealed lifestyle patterns from high-resolution data, data-driven tailored feedback, and community-based interventions has the potential to attract the hearts and minds of households and community members to conserve energy in ways that economic and environmental concerns cannot.

Project funders and partners: