اندازه گیری اثر تعویق و آگاهی رسانی زیست محیطی در رفتارهای صرفه جویی در انرژی خانوارها: یک رویکرد تجربی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26956||2014||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Energy Policy, Volume 66, March 2014, Pages 249–256
A common finding in behavioural economics is that people often procrastinate, i.e., keep postponing planned tasks or decisions that require effort to execute. The effect of procrastination on inter-temporal energy choice behaviours could be even more serious because energy is an abstract, invisible and intangible commodity. This paper uses a web survey to investigate how people's procrastination propensity and environmental awareness affect their heating-energy-saving behaviours. The results indicate that people who state that they have a higher tendency to procrastinate are significantly less likely to have engaged in most of the heating energy-saving activities, especially regarding larger purchases or investments in equipment and the insulation of doors and windows. I also found a positive relationship between environmental awareness and engaging in everyday energy-saving activities such as reducing the indoor temperature. The findings suggest that measures aimed at reducing procrastination are needed to realise energy-saving potential. It is important to find ways to either bring future benefits closer to the present or to magnify the costs of delayed action. For example, one can employ certain feedback systems and commitment devices to make current gains and future costs more visible or tangible.
The energy used in family homes accounts for one-third of the total energy use in Europe (EEA, 2008). Reducing households' energy use is a target for energy and environmental policies (Gardner and Stern, 2002). The European Energy Efficiency Action Plan estimates that there is a large saving potential in the household sector and that households could save up to 27% of their current energy use by 2020 by making more energy efficient choices (European Commission, 2006). In a household study encompassing 12 European countries, de Almeida et al. (2011) estimate that an annual savings of 1300 kW h per household can be achieved by a combination of more energy efficient technologies and behavioural changes. Furthermore, in countries with a temperate climate, such as Norway, over half of the household energy is used for heating (IEA, 2004). The total energy saving potential for the private building sector is estimated to be approximately 12 TW h in Norway (Wachenfeldt, 2009). Energy-saving practices for space heating can therefore significantly reduce the energy use in households (Darby, 2000 and Guerra Santin, 2011). Household energy use depends on factors such as climate, energy price, and residence and household characteristics but also on the householders' energy-saving behaviours (Barr et al., 2005, Branco et al., 2004, Fabi et al., 2012 and Lindén et al., 2006). Changing the households' behaviour is the focus of many of the proposed policies and measures to achieve energy-saving potential (European Commission, 2006). Households' energy-saving behaviours cover energy behaviours directed at both curtailment and efficiency. The former refers to daily engagement in energy-saving, such as turning off the light when leaving a room, and the latter refers to investment behaviours, such as buying new equipment or insulating the house (Oikonomou et al., 2009). Most studies on energy-saving behaviour focus on either cost issues or normative concerns (Allcott, 2011 and Steg, 2008). However, several studies have found household energy-saving behaviour to be influenced both by cost factors and by other behavioural factors such as the available information on energy saving, the effort needed, everyday routines, demographic factors and the preference for thermal comfort (Steg, 2008). In particular, certain drivers or barriers behind energy investment behaviours could be due to sociocultural and psychological reasons (Brohmann et al., 2009, Lillemo et al., 2013, Wilhite and Lutzenhiser, 1999, Wilk and Wilhite, 1985 and Wilhite et al., 1996). Furthermore, people do not always behave consistently with their intentions and plans, especially in the case of pro-environmental behaviours (Kollmuss and Agyeman, 2002). Therefore, we need to pay more attention to behavioural factors to improve the policy effectiveness of the interventions aiming to encourage energy-saving behaviours (Abrahamse et al., 2005). Identifying the barriers to energy-saving behaviours could help to bring about the intended behaviour change. Some behavioural studies have mentioned potential psychological drivers and barriers including procrastination (postponing planned tasks or decisions that need the input of effort) (Baddeley, 2011, Grubb et al., 2009 and McNamara and Grubb, 2011). As Rabinovich and Webley (2007) note, in general, moving from saving intentions to actual saving is not straightforward and may require careful planning and efforts in self-control. More empirical studies aiming to incorporate such behavioural economics principles are needed to sharpen energy policy (Wilson and Dowlatabadi, 2007). The effect of procrastination has often been studied as it relates to health and financial savings topics (Thaler and Benartzi, 2004; Laibson, 2005; Akerlof, 1991 and Kooreman and Prast, 2010). However, to the best of my knowledge, there are still no empirical studies about how procrastination affects people's energy-saving behaviours. The effect of procrastination on energy inter-temporal choice (choice over time) could be even more serious because energy is an abstract, invisible and intangible commodity. Based on survey data from Norway, I sought to explore the relationship between people's energy-saving behaviours and their level of environmental awareness and how this relationship is moderated by their tendency to procrastinate. The objective of this study is to provide empirical evidence of procrastination affecting households' energy-saving behaviours. This evidence will provide insights into why households fail to achieve their energy-saving potential and will help policy-makers to broaden their approaches to encourage energy saving.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Saving energy can increase the welfare of individuals, contribute to sustainable economic development and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. To acquire more knowledge about the barriers and drivers of energy-saving behaviours, I conducted a national household web survey and studied the residential owner's heating energy-saving behaviours from a behavioural economics perspective. I focused on the important but less noticed behavioural factor of procrastination and measured the effect of procrastination on people's inter-temporal energy-saving choices. The results imply that people's tendency toward procrastination did reduce their involvement in energy-saving activities in a statistically significant way. There is a positive relationship between environmental awareness and engaging in everyday energy-saving activities such as reducing indoor temperatures. Therefore, the positive effect from being environmentally friendly might be moderated by the tendency to procrastinate in daily energy-saving practices. To overcome procrastination in energy saving, the key is to find ways to either bring future benefits closer to the present or to magnify the costs of delayed action. On one hand, from the policy maker's viewpoint, it is important to make people more aware of their procrastination problem. The findings suggested that energy-saving campaigns should be purposely tailored to overcome procrastination. The policy agents can develop some effective reminders or “nudges” to reduce the negative effect of procrastination. For example, one can design saving schemes with clear goals and easily functioning reminder systems, through which people can move their energy-saving plan into action. The findings also suggest that measures aimed at increasing households' investments in energy saving should focus on reducing procrastination rather than increasing environmental awareness. However, households should also put more effort to bring saving plans or decisions into action. For example, it is necessary to employ some good feedback mechanisms and commitment devices to make current gains and future costs more visible or tangible. Feedback systems allow the household to better visualise the benefits from saving activities. For example, feedback systems can be designed to increase the energy consumers' perceived gain from executing their saving plan. A room temperature control system using smart grid systems is suggested for this purpose. Alternatively, some effective commitment devices such as goal setting or money deposit devices could also help people to follow through on their saving plans or decisions. In all, this empirical study identified procrastination as a barrier to heating energy saving. The empirical findings can be used to increase the effectiveness of policies that seek to encourage energy efficiency within Norwegian households. These results are not only relevant for energy saving in the private household sector but could also be extended to other saving campaigns and other environmentally friendly activities such as encouraging public transportation. By applying the research findings from behavioural economics, one can better achieve insight into people's behavioural changes. Further studies on this topic are needed, such as identifying effective commitment devices and introducing commitment devices or goal setting devices to increase energy saving.