Niamir, L., Ivanova, O., Filatova, T., Voinov, A., Bressers, H.

Demand-side solutions for climate mitigation: Bottom-up drivers of household energy behavior change in the Netherlands and Spain

in Energy Research & Social Science, 27.11.2019

Peer Review , Land Use, Infrastructure and Transport

Households are responsible for 70% of CO2 emissions (directly and indirectly). While households as agents of change increasingly become a crucial element in energy transitions, bottom-up mechanisms facilitating behavioral change are not fully understood. A scientific understanding of individual energy use, requires eliciting factors that trigger or inhibit changes in energy behavior. This paper explores individual energy consumption practices and behavioral aspects that affect them. We quantitatively study the determinants of three energy actions: (1) investments in house insulation, solar panels and/or energy-efficient appliances, (2) conservation of energy by changing energy-use habits like switching off unused devices or adjusting house temperature, and (3) switching to green(er) electricity sources. To address this goal, we conduct a comprehensive survey among households (N = 1790) in two EU regions: Overijssel, the Netherlands and Navarre, Spain. We use probit regression to estimate how behavioral factors, households’ socioeconomic characteristics and structural attributes of dwellings influence energy related actions. Our analysis demonstrates that awareness and personal and social norms are as important as monetary factors. Moreover, education and structural dwelling factors significantly affect households’ actions. These results have implications for governmental policies aimed at reducing residential CO2 footprints and facilitating demand-side solutions in a transition to low-carbon economy.