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Identifying behavioural predictors of small power electricity consumption in office buildings

Tetlow, R., van Drokelaar, C., Beaman, P., Elmualim, A. A. and Couling, K. (2015) Identifying behavioural predictors of small power electricity consumption in office buildings. Building and Environment, 92. pp. 75-85. ISSN 0360-1323

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2015.04.009


It is widely accepted that there is a gap between design energy and real world operational energy consumption. The behaviour of occupants is often cited as an important factor influencing building energy performance. However, its consideration, both during design and operation, is overly simplistic, often assuming a direct link between attitudes and behaviour. Alternative models of decision making from psychology highlight a range of additional influential factors and emphasise that occupants do not always act in a rational manner. Developing a better understanding of occupant decision making could help inform office energy conservation campaigns as well as models of behaviour employed during the design process. This paper assesses the contribution of various behavioural constructs on small power consumption in offices. The method is based upon the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) which assumes that intention is driven by three factors: attitude, subjective norms, and perceived behavioural control, but we also consider a fourth construct: habit measured through the Self- Report Habit Index (SRHI). A questionnaire was issued to 81 participants in two UK offices. Questionnaire results for each behavioural construct were correlated against each participant’s individual workstation electricity consumption. The intentional processes proposed by TPB could not account for the observed differences in occupants’ interactions with small power appliances. Instead, occupants were interacting with small power “automatically”, with habit accounting for 11% of the variation in workstation energy consumption. The implications for occupant behaviour models and employee engagement campaigns are discussed.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Science > School of the Built Environment
ID Code:40271


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