IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The influence of consumers' environmental beliefs and attitudes on energy saving behaviours


  • Gadenne, David
  • Sharma, Bishnu
  • Kerr, Don
  • Smith, Tim


With a heightened focus on the concept of sustainability in the past few decades, government, business and individuals have become increasingly aware of the need to reduce our environmental footprint. Consequently there has been much research on consumer environmental behaviour, and the beliefs, norms and attitudes that influence this behaviour. In this article we develop a conceptual framework of consumer environmental behaviour and its antecedents, and test hypotheses within the framework by means of a survey of green consumers. The results show that general environmental beliefs do influence norms on environmental actions and prices, but only norms on price are correlated with environmental attitudes; both intrinsic and extrinsic environmental drivers together with social norms and community influence are associated with environmental attitudes, but cost barriers may have a negative influence. It was also found that there was a strong association between environmental attitudes and energy saving behaviours but the latter was not in any way influenced by government policies or subsidies.

Suggested Citation

  • Gadenne, David & Sharma, Bishnu & Kerr, Don & Smith, Tim, 2011. "The influence of consumers' environmental beliefs and attitudes on energy saving behaviours," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7684-7694.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:12:p:7684-7694
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2011.09.002

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jager, Wander, 2006. "Stimulating the diffusion of photovoltaic systems: A behavioural perspective," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(14), pages 1935-1943, September.
    2. Arkesteijn, Karlijn & Oerlemans, Leon, 2005. "The early adoption of green power by Dutch households: An empirical exploration of factors influencing the early adoption of green electricity for domestic purposes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 183-196, January.
    3. Julian Agyeman & Briony Angus, 2003. "The Role of Civic Environmentalism in the Pursuit of Sustainable Communities," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 345-363.
    4. Cornelissen, Gert & Pandelaere, Mario & Warlop, Luk & Dewitte, Siegfried, 2008. "Positive cueing: Promoting sustainable consumer behavior by cueing common environmental behaviors as environmental," International Journal of Research in Marketing, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 46-55.
    5. David Williamson & Gary Lynch-Wood & John Ramsay, 2006. "Drivers of Environmental Behaviour in Manufacturing SMEs and the Implications for CSR," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 67(3), pages 317-330, September.
    6. Barr, Stewart & Gilg, Andrew W & Ford, Nicholas, 2005. "The household energy gap: examining the divide between habitual- and purchase-related conservation behaviours," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(11), pages 1425-1444, July.
    7. Faiers, Adam & Cook, Matt & Neame, Charles, 2007. "Towards a contemporary approach for understanding consumer behaviour in the context of domestic energy use," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(8), pages 4381-4390, August.
    8. Ajzen, Icek, 1991. "The theory of planned behavior," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 179-211, December.
    9. Boardman, Brenda, 2004. "New directions for household energy efficiency: evidence from the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(17), pages 1921-1933, November.
    10. Hansla, Andre & Gamble, Amelie & Juliusson, Asgeir & Garling, Tommy, 2008. "Psychological determinants of attitude towards and willingness to pay for green electricity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 768-774, February.
    11. Francesco Perrini & Sandro Castaldo & Nicola Misani & Antonio Tencati, 2010. "The impact of corporate social responsibility associations on trust in organic products marketed by mainstream retailers: a study of Italian consumers," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(8), pages 512-526, December.
    12. Faiers, Adam & Neame, Charles, 2006. "Consumer attitudes towards domestic solar power systems," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(14), pages 1797-1806, September.
    13. Ritsuko Ozaki, 2011. "Adopting sustainable innovation: what makes consumers sign up to green electricity?," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 1-17, January.
    14. Edwin Zaccaï, 2008. "Assessing the role of consumers in sustainable product policies," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 51-67, February.
    15. Hans Haake & Stefan Seuring, 2009. "Sustainable procurement of minor items - exploring limits to sustainability," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(5), pages 284-294.
    16. Kilbourne, William & Pickett, Gregory, 2008. "How materialism affects environmental beliefs, concern, and environmentally responsible behavior," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 61(9), pages 885-893, September.
    17. Salmela, Suvi & Varho, Vilja, 2006. "Consumers in the green electricity market in Finland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 3669-3683, December.
    18. Sidiras, Dimitrios K. & Koukios, Emmanuel G., 2004. "Solar systems diffusion in local markets," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(18), pages 2007-2018, December.
    19. Mills, Bradford F. & Schleich, Joachim, 2009. "Profits or preferences? Assessing the adoption of residential solar thermal technologies," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 4145-4154, October.
    20. Ozaki, Ritsuko & Sevastyanova, Katerina, 2011. "Going hybrid: An analysis of consumer purchase motivations," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2217-2227, May.
    21. William Young & Kumju Hwang & Seonaidh McDonald & Caroline J. Oates, 2010. "Sustainable consumption: green consumer behaviour when purchasing products," Sustainable Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 18(1), pages 20-31.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bai, Yin & Liu, Yong, 2013. "An exploration of residents’ low-carbon awareness and behavior in Tianjin, China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1261-1270.
    2. Qin, Yong & Xu, Zeshui & Wang, Xinxin & Škare, Marinko, 2022. "Green energy adoption and its determinants: A bibliometric analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 153(C).
    3. Andrea Mezger & Pablo Cabanelas & Mª. Jesús López‐Miguens & Francesca Cabiddu & Klaus Rüdiger, 2020. "Sustainable development and consumption: The role of trust for switching towards green energy," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(8), pages 3598-3610, December.
    4. Véronique Vasseur & Anne-Francoise Marique & Vladimir Udalov, 2019. "A Conceptual Framework to Understand Households’ Energy Consumption," Energies, MDPI, vol. 12(22), pages 1-22, November.
    5. Khuong, Phuong M. & Scheller, Fabian & McKenna, Russell & Keles, Dogan & Fichtner, Wolf, 2020. "Willingness to pay for residential PV: Reconciling gaps between acceptance and adoption," Working Paper Series in Production and Energy 46, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute for Industrial Production (IIP).
    6. Anna Kowalska-Pyzalska, 2015. "Social acceptance of green energy and dynamic electricity tariffs - a short review," HSC Research Reports HSC/15/07, Hugo Steinhaus Center, Wroclaw University of Technology.
    7. Asante, Dennis & He, Zheng & Mintah Ampaw, Enock & Gyamerah, Samuel & Ankrah Twumasi, Martinson & Opoku-Mensah, Evans & Kyere, Francis & Asante, Bismark & Afia Akyia, Ellen, 2021. "Renewable energy technology transition among small-and-medium scale firms in Ghana," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 178(C), pages 549-559.
    8. Kowalska-Pyzalska, Anna & Maciejowska, Katarzyna & Suszczyński, Karol & Sznajd-Weron, Katarzyna & Weron, Rafał, 2014. "Turning green: Agent-based modeling of the adoption of dynamic electricity tariffs," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 164-174.
    9. Prudence Dato, 2018. "Investment in Energy Efficiency, Adoption of Renewable Energy and Household Behavior: Evidence from OECD Countries," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3).
    10. Magdalena Grębosz-Krawczyk & Agnieszka Zakrzewska-Bielawska & Beata Glinka & Aldona Glińska-Neweś, 2021. "Why Do Consumers Choose Photovoltaic Panels? Identification of the Factors Influencing Consumers’ Choice Behavior regarding Photovoltaic Panel Installations," Energies, MDPI, vol. 14(9), pages 1-20, May.
    11. Claudy, Marius C. & Michelsen, Claus & O'Driscoll, Aidan, 2011. "The diffusion of microgeneration technologies - assessing the influence of perceived product characteristics on home owners' willingness to pay," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1459-1469, March.
    12. Michelsen, Carl Christian & Madlener, Reinhard, 2013. "Motivational factors influencing the homeowners’ decisions between residential heating systems: An empirical analysis for Germany," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 221-233.
    13. Heiskanen, Eva & Matschoss, Kaisa, 2017. "Understanding the uneven diffusion of building-scale renewable energy systems: A review of household, local and country level factors in diverse European countries," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 580-591.
    14. Alzubaidi, Hawazin & Slade, Emma L. & Dwivedi, Yogesh K., 2021. "Examining antecedents of consumers’ pro-environmental behaviours: TPB extended with materialism and innovativeness," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 685-699.
    15. Anna Kowalska-Pyzalska, 2016. "What makes consumers adopt to innovative energy services in the energy market?," HSC Research Reports HSC/16/09, Hugo Steinhaus Center, Wroclaw University of Technology.
    16. Pi-Chuan Sun & Hsueh-Mei Wang & Hsien-Long Huang & Chien-Wei Ho, 2020. "Consumer attitude and purchase intention toward rooftop photovoltaic installation: The roles of personal trait, psychological benefit, and government incentives," Energy & Environment, , vol. 31(1), pages 21-39, February.
    17. Fabian Scheller & Karyn Morrissey & Karsten Neuhoff & Dogan Keles, 2023. "Green or greedy: the relationship between perceived benefits and homeowners' intention to adopt residential low-carbon technologies," Papers 2308.10104,
    18. Will, Christian & Lehmann, Nico & Baumgartner, Nora & Feurer, Sven & Jochem, Patrick & Fichtner, Wolf, 2022. "Consumer understanding and evaluation of carbon-neutral electric vehicle charging services," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 313(C).
    19. Rosa Maria Dangelico & Fabio Nonino & Alessandro Pompei, 2021. "Which are the determinants of green purchase behaviour? A study of Italian consumers," Business Strategy and the Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(5), pages 2600-2620, July.
    20. Fang, Xingming & Wang, Lu & Sun, Chuanwang & Zheng, Xuemei & Wei, Jing, 2021. "Gap between words and actions: Empirical study on consistency of residents supporting renewable energy development in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 148(PA).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:12:p:7684-7694. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.