Amsterdam meeting identifies factors influencing energy behaviour and success factors for change

June 5, 2008

Changing Behaviour had a very fruitful meeting in Amsterdam in April. Intensive groupwork sessions charted the existing knowledge in the consortium concerning factors influencing energy behaviour and characteristics of successful change programmes targeted at households, SMEs, municipalities and other building users.

Energy-related behavioural determinants were examined in three categories. Factors influencing the willingness to change include trust issues,

socio-cultural issues, information and knowledge, sociodemographic factors, participation issues, perceptions about expected outcomes, as well as psychological issues on the individual and organisational level. Factors influencing the capacity to change include information and knowledge issues, economic drivers and barriers, as well as psychological issues on the individual and organisational level (e.g., lock-in to past behavioural patterns).  Factors strengthening or reinforcing the previous set of factors relate to socio-cultural issues such as social pressure, psychological issues like evaluations of prior programmes, economic issues, infrastructural drivers and barriers, sociodemographic factors and the political and institutional framework.

We also made a preliminary list of factors expected to influence the success of change interventions, including (1) trust, e.g. the reputation of the programme manager (2) information provision (e.g., consistent messages), (3) understanding of target group and stakeholders, (4) participation, (5) commitment and motivation (6) use of appropriate instruments (7) timing and (8) monitoring and evaluation.

The results of our Amsterdam meeting will be complemented with a literature review in order to construct a conceptual model of successful change programmes. We are also making an in-depth analysis of more and less successful change programmes. The first results of these analyses will be presented at the CHANGING BEHAVIOUR workshops.