Role of Self-Efficacy in Reducing Residential Energy Usage
Energy usage continues to increase across the globe, which has resulted in increased methods for conserving energy. However, most of these methods for decreasing energy consumption focus on political and economic policies, as well as curtailing usage by promoting individual energy-efficient products and practices such as appliances, electronics, and improved building envelope maintenance. To determine better methods and policies to conserve energy, individual habits and perceptions of energy usage need to be considered. One such consideration is a household's perception of energy usage habits and the belief or self-efficacy that becoming an energy saver can make an impact. For this research, a field study was completed in the rural community of Woodbine, Iowa, to determine if self-efficacy via perceptions of energy consumption could predict actual energy usage. To examine the impact of self-efficacy on energy usage, perceptions of energy consumption were compared with actual changes in energy usage habits. During a 36-month period, the energy usage of 92 households was monitored, and the homeowners completed behavioral consumption surveys. The surveys assessed the participants' perspectives on sustainability and energy use, comparing how perceptions relate to actual energy consumption. Homeowners who changed their energy usage habits were determined to be in the bottom half of energy users in their community; however, homeowners' beliefs that their habits affect energy usage were more accurate predictors of their actual energy consumption. The results suggest a stronger correlation and effect size between self-efficacy and energy usage compared with changes in consumption habits and energy usage. This information can be used to better conduct interventions aimed at reducing community energy consumption. Future research should target psychological beliefs on energy consumption in addition to actual behaviors.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Journal of Architectural Engineering
Barry, N., Harper, C., Berryman, C., & Farley, C. (2016). Role of Self-Efficacy in Reducing Residential Energy Usage. Journal of Architectural Engineering, 22 (1) https://doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)AE.1943-5568.0000196