Towards a contemporary approach for understanding consumer behaviour in the context of domestic energy use

Faeirs, Adam; Cook, Matt and Neame, Charles (2007). Towards a contemporary approach for understanding consumer behaviour in the context of domestic energy use. Energy Policy, 35(8) pp. 4381–4390.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2007.01.003

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleUR...

Abstract

Domestic sector energy use is increasing in the UK and currently accounts for 30% of total use. Policies of liberalised energy markets have allowed greater consumer choice but have not sought to reduce carbon emissions. Overall sales of energy efficiency products are rising, but UK housing stock standards are poor and do not facilitate improved efficiency and further, the sales of such products are influenced by their price, thus the higher capital costs of products such as boilers and solar systems make them initially unattractive to consumers. Previous market-based research into the adoption of energy efficiency products has often focused on single factors, for example demographics. This has limited the ability of policy makers to make informed decisions that address a broader range of factors, such as individuals’ cognitive abilities, values and attitudes, as well as external factors such as social networks, marketing, and products and services. This paper provides a wider critique of the theoretical base related to consumer behaviour, product attributes and socio-environmental theories that relate to energy use. The aim of the paper is to draw together theories relevant to energy use in order to aid policy making in the broader context and to develop the discussion around integrated theories of consumer behaviour.

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