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Title: Using behavioural interventions to reduce carbon emissions by inducing purchasing decisions that have a medium term impact on energy use
Author: Roy, Deborah
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2010
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Consumers are increasingly having to consider the ethical and moral implications of energy wasting behaviours. The research aim of this thesis was to develop and test an intervention for inducing hypothetical investment choices of energy saving appliances. Energy saving goods often have a higher initial purchase price, but offer delayed financial benefits. The greatest reduction of harm to the environment is achieved by reducing energy consumption. Social psychological and behaviour analytic studies were reviewed to identify key variables. Study one investigated energy saving bulbs and kettles using a novel quasi-experimental design, with University of Ulster staff as participants. Results revealed a strong bias towards hypothetical purchasing of energy saving light bulbs and kettles. Preference for energy saving products increased with the amount saved, and decreased as the time to that saving increased. This is consistent with the notion that energy saving is valued, but discounted over time. A main conclusion was that providing participants with specific, detailed, financial information would affect purchasing decisions. Data for studies two and three were collected in B & Q stores across Northern Ireland and focused upon identifying the size of a financial incentive that would encourage the participants to hypothetically invest in loft insulation. Three different types of information prompts were also tested in study three (fiscal, personal pro-environmental, and community) as participants may be motivated by a range of consequences. While participants were not generally aware of how much they spent on heating their homes yearly, the majority thought that a saving of around £100 - £120 per year on heating bills was a sufficiently large incentive to elicit a decision to hypothetically invest in loft insulation. The three information prompts elicited very similar effects on the decisions made. In all three studies there were statistically significant effects of savings and time delay and the time delay effects declined as the size of bill savings increased. Limitations of the three studies are discussed including the need for increased experimental control. However the results showed consistent effects for appliances with different properties and have promise for further developments of behavioural interventions to encourage people to invest in energy savings products.
Supervisor: Leslie, Julian C. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Energy Conservation ; Behaviour change ; Investment Decisions ; Temporal delay