Are energy decisions about energy?

Broers, W., Kemp, R., Vasseur, V., Abujidi, N., & Vroon, Z. (2018). 
In Behave 2018 : Book of Abstracts (pp. 72-73). Zurich: Winterthur : ZHAW Zürcher Hochschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften.

Research shows that buildings should use 80% less energy in 2050 to counter climate change and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels [1, 2]. To achieve this in the Netherlands, 75% of the Dutch houses should be renovated [3] with a pace of 300,000 houses each year [2]. This can be achieved by one-off energy renovation measures such as insulation, efficient heating and ventilation systems or renewable energy production. Despite the technical potential and widespread policies for supporting energy renovations [4], the energy renovation pace is not on schedule to meet the emission targets [5].

From a techno-economic perspective, a significant amount of research has been conducted on
energy renovations concerning private homeowners’ willingness, interest and motivation. These
studies have identified important factors and motivations which influence choices homeowners make about decisions concerning energy renovations. However, this research provides little insight into the context in which these choices are made, how they are experienced by the homeowners, and what their perceptions are on these experiences and choices. There is also little known about the role of advice from people in their social network or advice from professionals.
Regarding social science and psychology, research shows that individual behaviour towards pro-environmental behaviour depends on a large number of different factors such as norms and values, habits, experiences, knowledge, awareness and their context. Nevertheless, such studies are mainly focused on daily energy saving behaviour and not on high-impact one-off energy renovation measures.

A more comprehensive understanding is needed on how choices are made and what the
rational is behind them, one that goes beyond the economics of energy choices, awareness, attitudes and behavioural control. This understanding is required to make policy and market introduction of energy renovation products more effective [4]. Therefore, this research aims at developing an interdisciplinary socio-technical approach that goes beyond technology and individual behaviour but will also tackle the physical, economic and social context of homeowners.