The carbon-saving behaviour of residential households

Pellegrini Masini, G. (2007) The carbon-saving behaviour of residential households. In: Futures of Cities - 51st IFHP World Congress, Copenhagen, 23-26 September 2007,

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The housing sector in 2004 was accountable for about 30% of total UK carbon emissions. The magnitude of this figure represents a significant imperative for policymakers to act on the sector through behavioural change strategies. Energy efficiency in households might easily be considered as driven mainly by economic motives, but this would not explain why even cost-free behavioural changes, like switching the lights off more often, are not adopted more widely. Literature has mainly concentrated either on the economic motives of pro-environmental behaviours or on the relevance of attitudes to shape them. Little has been said so far on the interaction between attitudes and the so called contextual factors. Diekmann and Presindörfer (2003) outlined the “low-cost hypothesis” which argues that pro-environmental behaviours are driven by pro-environmental attitudes only in the presence of low costs. However, little is known about households’ perceptions of costs and benefits in relation to energy saving behaviour. We propose to develop the low-cost hypothesis with a theoretical approach integrating attitudinal research and rational choice literature and explaining the interaction between tangible and intangible costs and benefits.Furthermore, the importance of resources such as education, information and income is highlighted in order to explain the magnitude of the perception of the costs and benefits considered by households. Finally, the scope for policy intervention aimed at shaping perceived costs and benefits to help the drive towards pro-environmental behaviour is discussed.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Keywords:Proenvironmental behaviours, household, energy efficiency, climate change
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Pellegrini Masini, Mr Giuseppe
Authors: Pellegrini Masini, G.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Publisher:International Federation for Housing and Planning
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2007 International Federation for Housing and Planning
First Published:First published in Proceedings Futures of Cities - 51st IFHP World Congress
Publisher Policy:Reproduced with permission of the publisher.

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