The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living
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The Global Challenge of Encouraging Sustainable Living

Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice

Edited by Shane Fudge, Michael Peters, Steven M. Hoffman and Walter Wehrmeyer

This unique book illustrates that in order to address the growing urgency of issues around environmental and resource limits, it is clear that we need to develop effective policies to promote durable changes in behaviour and transform how we view and consume goods and services. It suggests that in order to develop effective policies in this area, it is necessary to move beyond a narrow understanding of ‘how individuals behave’, and to incorporate a more nuanced approach that encompasses behavioural influences in different societies, contexts and settings.
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Chapter 6: Identifying relevance and strength of barriers to changes in energy behaviour among end consumers and households: the BarEnergy project

Opportunities, Barriers, Policy and Practice

Martin van de Lindt, Sophie Emmert and Helma Luiten


Energy is an expensive and increasingly scarce resource. Despite widespread recognition of diminishing oil reserves, a significant proportion of energy consumption happens through wasteful and inefficient practices. Public authorities, particularly the European Union (EU), have a key role to play in raising awareness of the issue and increasing energy efficiency for the sake of the environment, the economy and our health (European Commission, 2005). Consumers and households can also play an important role in reducing energy use by making changes in their energy behaviour. This forms the background for the BarEnergy project. BarEnergy – an acronym for Barriers to changes in energy behaviour among end consumers and households – was an EU-funded collaborative research project, undertaken between 2008 and 2010. The project team comprised eight different organizations from six European countries (Table 6.1). The project objectives were threefold. In the first place BarEnergy aimed to explore the strength and relevance of various barriers to change in consumer energy behaviour. An exploration of these barriers, together with relevant windows of opportunity, formed the basis for policy recommendations to overcome these barriers. Last but not least, the project wanted to contribute to methodological development in this area of research.

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