Behavioural Changes After Energy Efficiency Improvements in Residential Properties
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This chapter investigates occupants’ behavioural changes as a result of energy efficiency improvements in the home. A controlled intervention study was set up to examine potential rebound effects and the psychological constructs that might contribute to these effects. Residents of a number of economically deprived communities in Wales were sent self-completion questionnaires before and after they received energy-efficiency improvements under the Arbed scheme. Residents of three nearby communities served as controls for the study. Utility meter readings and indoor air temperatures were also taken for a sub-sample of the study. While there were very few differences in indoor air temperatures between the two groups, the Arbed group was found to use less energy after energy efficiency measures were installed. Observed energy savings were however lower than predicted, suggesting an average rebound effect of 54 %. Although no evidence was found for changes in other energy-related behaviours, there were some changes in a number of associated psychological constructs. Self-reported environmental identity increased for the Arbed group after energy efficiency measures were installed. Similarly, significant differences were also found between the two groups for attitudes towards reducing the amount of heating used in the home. The results provide an indication that psychological mechanisms may underlie the rebound effect.
KeywordsDirect rebound Energy efficiency Intervention Residential properties
The authors would like to thank the BRE for funding this PhD research, the Energy Saving Trust for providing the physical monitoring equipment and the occupants who agreed to take part in this research. Sincere thanks also go to J. Shufflebotham, N. Suffolk and J Suffolk for all of their support.
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