Modelling household energy consumption to understand sustainable energy behaviour: an integrated approach

Maliheh Namazkhan

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Household energy consumption represents a major contributor to the emission of greenhouse gases that cause climate change and global warming. This has been a major concern to governments and the public. To mitigate climate change and help achieve a sustainable energy transition, it is important to understand which factors affect the likelihood that people engage in behaviour that limits climate change. The aim of this PhD thesis is to understand which factors affect sustainable energy behaviour, as this provides essential insights into which interventions can be effective to promote sustainable energy behaviour. We study which factors are related to three types of sustainable energy behaviours that have a relatively high impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change and that have so far been understudied: the use of natural gas, which plays an important role in the Dutch energy system; the adoption of sustainable energy sources, notably the installation of photovoltaic systems (PV); and the sustainable use of PV.
We applied a comprehensive framework integrating a range of potentially relevant factors that have typically been studied in isolation. Notably, extending previous research, we examined the role of building characteristics, socio-demographics, and psychological factors together. We apply a variety of statistical approaches that have not or hardly been used in this field, but that seem relevant to understand which factors affect gas use, gas use behaviour, installing PV, and the sustainable use of self-generated electricity by PV. The techniques we employ are the proportional odds model, multinomial logistic regression analysis, decision tree regression analysis, and generalised additive models.
We consistently found that all three types of factors are relevant to understanding these different types of sustainable energy behaviour, using different dependent variables, independent variables, statistical methods, and different datasets. Our findings suggest that variables from all three types of predictors appear relevant, and that it would be essential to consider all three types of factors when developing policies aimed to promote sustainable energy behaviour. This is an important and novel finding that clearly signals that an integrated approach is needed to understand sustainable energy behaviour, as considering only one type of predictor will provide a limited understanding of sustainable energy behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Albers, Casper, Supervisor
  • Steg, Linda, Supervisor
Award date22-Sept-2022
Place of Publication[Groningen]
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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