Occupant pro-environmental choice and behaviour
The project examines the factors that influence the residents' pro-environmental decisions and behaviors, including whether the building's properties make any difference for these decisions.
The gap between customers’ environmental knowledge and display of pro-environmental behaviour is an important and complex phenomenon that affects the housing market, the economy, society, climate and the possibility of achieving national and international environmental goals.
Many studies have been conducted with the assumption that information can change environmental attitudes and lead to pro-environmental behaviour. This approach has been proven to be insufficient to ensure sustainability choice or long term behavioural change.
This project is based on the results from my doctoral studies, which indicate that occupants initially pay little attention to the energy and environmental features of a building due to the inaccessibility of or low exposure to relevant information. Additionally, the difference between expectations and experience may contribute to the doubt towards pro-environmental choices. This disappointment is related to the dysfunction of ‘hi-tech’ technological solutions such as in-home displays that do not show accurate energy consumption information, operational problems with heating and/or the ventilation system and dissatisfaction with indoor environment quality, where, for example, temperatures are too low in the winter or too high during the summer.
The general research question is: how occupants perceive pro-environmental features in buildings and whether the energy and environmental characteristics of a building promote or discourage pro-environmental behaviour.
The project applies behavioural economics and environmental psychology to understand the behaviour of customers and occupants. The first aim of this study is to apply the theories of bounded rationality, prospect theory and information bias to explain the gap between environmental awareness and the display of pro-environmental behaviour by customers in the housing market. The second aim is to apply those theories to study the stated and the revealed behaviour among occupants.
The intention is to use both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Together with the Stockholm School of Economics and the University of Technology Sydney, we will design and perform an experiment through which we can study whether the sustainable features of a building can encourage and support behavioural change. The experiment, survey and focus group study are expected to deliver the data required for analysis.
An experimental or quasi-experimental approach is intended for this part of the study. The aim is to design an experiment in collaboration with the KTH Live-in-Lab and test occupants’ responses to different information strategies and whether pro- environmental cues have positive effects on behavioural change.