"With great power comes great responsibility": Understanding the behavioural determinants of residential energy efficiency in Wellington
Recognition of the need for a transformation in our global energy systems to combat climate change has brought about an increased drive to curb energy consumption and increase energy efficiency. The residential sector is a prominent energy user and a key focus for this transition to a low carbon future. Psychology has played an increasingly important role in energy policy with an understanding that individuals act on motivators beyond economic explanations. This study provides a psychological evaluation of a residential energy efficiency intervention based in Wellington, New Zealand in order to develop a deeper understanding of how energy interventions engage participants in change and how they can be made more effective. The Wellington intervention uses a tailored information approach through a home energy audit to promote both efficiency and curtailment behaviours in local homes. By measuring before and after energy consumption changes in combination with salient psychological determinants, this quantitative study examines energy changes following the audit programme and the motivations involved in making these changes. The psychological determinants explored are the fundamental values held by programme participants as well as their level of concern for the environment. Analysis showed energy consumption changes following the audit to be variable and inconclusive as to the effectiveness of the overall programme. Values contributed a significant influence with self-transcendent values being a positive predictor of the number of efficiency behaviours implemented after the programme. This suggests that appealing to the altruistic concerns and collective interests salient within the self-transcendence value dimension when designing and implementing an intervention could aid uptake of energy conservation behaviour in future interventions.