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Residental energy use: An investigation of consumers and conservation strategies

Häuslicher Energieverbrauch: eine Untersuchung von Verbrauchern und von Strategien zur Energieeinsparung

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Abstract

It is often assumed that energy conservation in the domestic sector can be achieved by technical innovation and higher prices supported by media exhortation. This paper argues that the impact of such policies is influenced by both consumers' personal characteristics and the structural or contextual conditions confronting them. The concept of energy literacy is described and shown to be related to energy saving behaviours and housing tenure, a contextual barrier for tenants given the nature of present energy conservation strategies.

A field experiment is reported in which savings in household energy consumption were achieved by a strategy involving motivation, information, and consumption feedback. By itself, consumption feedback had no effect. It is concluded that energy conservation policy must take account of consumers' personal and contextual characteristics and aim to improve both energy literacy and structural conditions. In achieving the former, strategies which involve personal advice and generate the involvement of the consumer may have more impact than mass media campaigns.

Zusammenfassung

Häufig wird angenommen, daß häusliche Energieeinsparung am besten durch eine Kombination baulicher Maßnahmen zur Gebäudeisolation, finanzieller Anreize, höherer Energiepreiser und von Kampagnen in den Medien erreicht werden kann. Bisher haben solche Maßnahmen jedoch nur wenig Erfolg gehabt. Wenn die Massenmedien auch das allgemeine Bewußtsein für Energiefragen angeregt haben, so werden diese Fragen doch nur von einer bestimmten Verbrauchergruppe deutlich gesehen — von wohlhabenden Besitzern von Wohnungseigentum. Einsparungen, die möglich sind, sind jedenfalls bisher noch nicht realisiert. Die Gründe dafür liegen in persönlichen und situativen Voraussetzungen bei den Verbrauchern.

Der Beitrag besteht aus zwei Teilen. Teil I berichtet über eine Umfrage, in der ermittelt werden sollte, welche Verbrauchereigenschaften zum Energiebewußtsein beitragen und ob das Energiebewußtsein auch den tatsächlichen Energieverbrauch beeinflußt. Eine wichtige Variable ist der Hausbesitz. Geringeres Energiebewußtsein bei Mietern wird darauf zurückgeführt, daß Mieter weniger Handlungsspielraum haben und nur wenig Vertrauen in die Erfassung des tatsächlichen eigenen Energieverbrauchs haben.

Teil II berichtet über ein Feldexperiment zur Wirkung von Maßnahmen, die eine tägliche Rückmeldung des eigenen Energieverbrauchs liefern, von solchen, die über individuelle Möglichkeiten der Energieeinsparung informieren, und von kombinierten Informations-und Rückmeldungs-Maßnahmen. Drei entsprechende Versuchsgruppen wurden mit einer vierten Kontrollgruppe einer 2×2 Varianzanalyse unterzogen. Informationsmaßnahmen führten zu einer signifikanten Verringerung des Heizenergie-Verbrauchs. Rückmeldung alleine führte zu keiner nennenswerten unmittelbaren Einsparung, regt aber das Interesse am eigenen Energieverbrauch an und hilft in Verbindung mit Informationsmaßnahmen dabei, die effektivsten Einsparungsmöglichkeiten zu finden.

Die Ergebnisse legen nahe, daß durch persönliche Beratung und Motivierung des einzelnen Verbrauchers mehr erreicht werden kann als durch Kampagnen in den Medien.

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Additional information

George Gaskell is a Lecturer and Richard Pike is a Research Assistant at the Department of Social Psychology, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, Aldwych, London WC2A 2AE, England. The research was supported by a grant from the Energy Panel of the Social Science Research Council.

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Gaskell, G., Pike, R. Residental energy use: An investigation of consumers and conservation strategies. J Consum Policy 6, 285–302 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00411397

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Keywords

  • Energy Conservation
  • Residental Energy
  • Housing Tenure
  • Saving Behaviour
  • Household Energy