Peer-reviewed paper – Why do people turn down the heat? Applying behavioural theories to assess reductions in space heating and energy consumption in Europe (2023)
Peter Conradie, Stephanie Van Hove, Sabine Pelka, Merkouris Karaliopoulos, Filippos Anagnostopoulos, Heike Brugger, Koen Ponnet – Why do people turn down the heat? Applying behavioural theories to assess reductions in space heating and energy consumption in Europe, Energy Research & Social Science, Volume 100, 2023, 103059, ISSN 2214-6296, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2023.103059. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629623001196)
Reducing heating-related energy consumption is vital in Europe, where it accounts for a significant portion of domestic energy usage. We studied the factors that influence reduced heating-related consumption by using three theoretical frameworks: the Theory of Planned Behaviour, the Value Belief Norm theory, and the Prototype Willingness Model.
Our sample consisted of 3098 people from 29 European countries. We conducted a confirmatory factor analysis to verify whether our observed variables measure our latent factors, followed by a structural equation model that incorporated these three behavioural models. We find that perceived behavioural control, subjective norms and attitudes (as part of the Theory of Planned Behaviour) are significant predictors of intent to reduce consumption. However, perceived behavioural control was not statistically significantly associated with behaviour.
Environmental concern had a more significant influence on attitudes towards energy reduction than bill consciousness. Attitude was additionally significantly associated with fear of losing comfort and energy knowledge. Moreover, personal moral norms (as part of Value Belief Norm Theory) and willingness (as part of the Prototype Willingness Model) contributed to explaining the intent to reduce consumption, while willingness was also associated with behaviour.
Keywords: Theory of planned behaviour; Prototype willingness model; Value belief norm theory; Heating reduction; Energy saving behaviour; Household consumption