Reducing Household Energy Consumption: A Qualitative and Quantitative Field Study

Brandon, G. & Lewis, A. (1999). Reducing household energy consumption: A qualitative and quantitative field study. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 19, 1, 75-85.

Investigated the effect of feedback conditions, income constraints, behavioural/structural aspects, environmental attitudes, and socio-demographics on energy consumption for 120 households in Bath, UK. Households had their energy consumption monitored over 9 mo and compared (weather-corrected) to the previous year's consumption. Participants (except for the control group) received feedback in various forms, i.e. consumption compared to previous consumption or to similar others; energy saving tips in leaflets or on a computer; or feedback relating to financial or environmental costs. Participants also took part in focus groups after the final meter readings were taken. Results indicate that income and demographic features predicted historic energy consumption but not changes in consumption during the field study, where environmental attitudes and feedback were influential. Of all the feedback groups, the installation of computers helped reduce consumption most markedly. Furthermore, people with positive environmental attitudes, but who had not previously been engaged in many conservation actions, were more likely to change their consumption subsequent to the feedback period. Recommendations are made both for energy conservation policy and future research.

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