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Household decision making on energy efficiency: determinants and policy design

Public economics

Senior Researcher : Amaya de Ayala Bilbao

Research Centre or Institution : Universidad del País Vasco (UPV-EHU).


The main objective of the project focuses on understanding the factors that explain consumer decision-making regarding energy efficiency (EE).

Both socio-economic qualitative and quantitative research is used and the focus is on household appliances as indicators of home energy consumption. Regarding qualitative research, a review of grey and conventional literature and 33 in-depth interviews (11 with citizens, 10 with vendors and 12 with experts) have been carried out. Regarding quantitative research, using stated data from Spanish households, the probability of buying a highly efficient washing machine has been estimated based on different explanatory variables. In addition, a laboratory experiment has been designed to study consumer behaviour.

The main results obtained to date can be summarized as: (i) the EE label is one of the most used and effective measures to deal with information failures; (ii) its weakness lies in people’s understanding of its content (i.e., comprehension issues with regard to the information on energy consumption and the technical data) rather than in its design; (iii) presenting monetary information on energy savings can lead to appliances (washing machines and fridges) purchases of higher energy-efficient level; (iv) individuals seem to make purchases of highly efficient washing machines when they value EE and the environment, take the label into account in their purchase, could enjoy a rebate programme, have good energy saving habits and have already made investments in EE, among others; (v) purchasing energy-efficient washing machines do not imply directly an energy-saving behaviour; and (vi) we found a “memory effect” of rebate schemes, such as the Spanish Renove Plan, in the purchasing decision-making of appliances.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 7
Communications at national conferences 2
Communications at international conferences 5


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