Efficient and inefficient aspects of residential energy behaviour: What are the policy instruments for change?

Anna-Lisa Lindén, A Carlsson-Kanyama, B Eriksson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Citations (SciVal)


The empirical part of this study is based on a survey of 600 Swedish households and a number of interviews where questions about residential energy behaviour and possible policy instruments for change were raised. The study provides insight into current behavioural patterns and gives a bottom-up perspective on the realistic perspective potentials for change and ways to achieve them. Residential energy use accounts for a fifth of the total in Northern nations and patterns of behaviour may influence levels of energy use to the same extent as choice of appliances. The study revealed those behavioural patterns that are efficient and those that need to be improved for energy conservation. Several policy instruments for change were identified in the study and they include combinations of information, economic measures, administrative measures and more user friendly technology as well as equipment with sufficient esthetic quality. Policy instruments that have fostered energy efficient behaviour in Sweden include the massive information campaigns during the oil crises in the 1970s as well as energy labelling of appliances. Still, many households are "energy-unaware" and several energy efficient behaviours are motivated not by energy conservation concern but of a perceived lack of time. This shows that it is important to have a broad perspective in energy conservation, to evaluate trends and to use policy instruments timely to support or discourage them. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1918-1927
JournalEnergy Policy
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)


  • sociology
  • energy attitudes
  • households
  • energy efficient behaviour
  • environmental awareness


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