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Energies 2015, 8(1), 573-609; doi:10.3390/en8010573

The Socio-Demographic and Psychological Predictors of Residential Energy Consumption: A Comprehensive Review

CSIRO Adaptive Social and Economic Systems, Ecosciences Precinct, 41 Boggo Road, Dutton Park, QLD 4102, Australia
These authors contributed equally to this work.
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Dovì
Received: 23 October 2014 / Accepted: 11 December 2014 / Published: 15 January 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Policy and Climate Change)
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Abstract

This article provides a comprehensive review of theory and research on the individual-level predictors of household energy usage. Drawing on literature from across the social sciences, we examine two broad categories of variables that have been identified as potentially important for explaining variability in energy consumption and conservation: socio-demographic factors (e.g., income, employment status, dwelling type/size, home ownership, household size, stage of family life cycle) and psychological factors (e.g., beliefs and attitudes, motives and intentions, perceived behavioral control, cost-benefit appraisals, personal and social norms). Despite an expanding literature, we find that empirical evidence of the impact of these variables has been far from consistent and conclusive to date. Such inconsistency poses challenges for drawing generalizable conclusions, and underscores the complexity of consumer behavior in this domain. In this article, we propose that a multitude of factors—whether directly, indirectly, or in interaction—influence how householders consume and conserve energy. Theory, research and practice can be greatly advanced by understanding what these factors are, and how, when, where, why and for whom they operate. We conclude by outlining some important practical implications for policymakers and directions for future research. View Full-Text
Keywords: review; energy consumption; energy conservation; household energy use; pro-environmental behavior; psychology; motivation; behavior change review; energy consumption; energy conservation; household energy use; pro-environmental behavior; psychology; motivation; behavior change
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Frederiks, E.R.; Stenner, K.; Hobman, E.V. The Socio-Demographic and Psychological Predictors of Residential Energy Consumption: A Comprehensive Review. Energies 2015, 8, 573-609.

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