Understanding Goal Setting Behavior in the Context of Energy Consumption Reduction

  • Michelle Scott
  • Mary Barreto
  • Filipe Quintal
  • Ian Oakley
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6946)


Home energy use represents a significant proportion of total consumption. A growing research area is considering how to help everyday users consume less. However, simply determining how to best reduce consumption remains a challenging task for many users. Based on goal setting theory, this paper presents two lab studies (based on the presentation of detailed scenarios and the solicitation of goal selections for the individuals depicted) in order to better understand how users make such decisions. It reveals a preference for goals that are perceived to be easy and specific, rather than those known to be effective (e.g. those that reduce energy consumption) or generic. Goal setting theory suggests that easy goals lead to low levels of commitment and motivation, suggesting such choices may be doubly ineffective. Ultimately, this paper contributes to a better understanding of users’ goal selections and argues this is a prerequisite to effectively supporting users in reducing resource consumption.


Sustainability Goal-Setting Motivation Energy Consumption 


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle Scott
    • 1
  • Mary Barreto
    • 1
  • Filipe Quintal
    • 1
  • Ian Oakley
    • 1
  1. 1.Madeira Interactive Technologies InstituteUniversity of MadeiraFunchalPortugal

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