IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

A Consumer Decision-making Process? Unfolding Energy Efficiency Decisions of German Owner-occupiers


  • Paul Baginski
  • Christoph Weber

    (Chair for Management Sciences and Energy Economics, University of Duisburg-Essen (Campus Essen))


The German housing stock needs substantial energetic retrofit to meet carbon reduction targets. Various instruments are available to motivate building owners to improve the energy efficiency of their dwellings. These instruments mainly focus on the economic issue of funding and financing energy efficient refurbishments as the decision is interpreted as a rational choice of an investment. Their success is rather low as the refurbishment rate stagnates around 1% per year for more than a decade. The objective of this study is to gain deeper insights into the decision-making of owner-occupiers regarding energy efficient refurbishments and to offer an adjusted framework to analyse the decision. A qualitative-explorative research approach is chosen, whereby in-depth interviews with independent energy advisers have been conducted. Results point out that the decision of owner-occupiers towards energy efficient refurbishment measures qualifies as an extensive consumer decision rather than a pure investment decision. The refurbishment measure implies high cognitive as well as emotional involvement. Owner-occupiers use several criteria to evaluate refurbishments, which alleviate monetary determinants. The standard process model of consumer decision-making, reaching from need recognition to post-purchase evaluation, qualifies for structuring the decision. It allows analysing drivers and barriers stepwise and deriving implications for activating homeowners and for promoting energy efficiency in each step. Current policies partly choose unrewarding argumentations to stimulate energy efficient refurbishments since they do not take all relevant factors of this consumer decision into account.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Baginski & Christoph Weber, 2017. "A Consumer Decision-making Process? Unfolding Energy Efficiency Decisions of German Owner-occupiers," EWL Working Papers 1708, University of Duisburg-Essen, Chair for Management Science and Energy Economics, revised Aug 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:dui:wpaper:1708

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stefanie Lena Hille, 2016. "The Myth of the Unscrupulous Energy User’s Dilemma: Evidence from Switzerland," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 39(3), pages 327-347, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Friege, Jonas & Chappin, Emile, 2014. "Modelling decisions on energy-efficient renovations: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 196-208.
    4. Gates, Robin W., 1983. "Investing in energy conservation : Are homeowners passing up high yields?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 63-71, March.
    5. Weber, C & Gebhardt, B & Fahl, U, 2002. "Market transformation for energy efficient technologies — success factors and empirical evidence for gas condensing boilers," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 287-315.
    6. Gram-Hanssen, Kirsten & Bartiaux, Francoise & Michael Jensen, Ole & Cantaert, Madeleine, 2007. "Do homeowners use energy labels? A comparison between Denmark and Belgium," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 2879-2888, May.
    7. Claudia Aravena & Andrés Riquelme & Eleanor Denny, 2016. "Money, Comfort or Environment? Priorities and Determinants of Energy Efficiency Investments in Irish Households," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 159-186, June.
    8. Zaichkowsky, Judith Lynne, 1985. "Measuring the Involvement Construct," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(3), pages 341-352, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Arturas Kaklauskas & Ieva Ubarte & Darius Kalibatas & Irene Lill & Anastasiia Velykorusova & Pavelas Volginas & Irina Vinogradova & Virgis Milevicius & Ingrida Vetloviene & Raimondas Grubliauskas & Ra, 2019. "A Multisensory, Green, and Energy Efficient Housing Neuromarketing Method," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(20), pages 1-30, October.
    2. Ebrahimigharehbaghi, Shima & Qian, Queena K. & Meijer, Frits M. & Visscher, Henk J., 2019. "Unravelling Dutch homeowners' behaviour towards energy efficiency renovations: What drives and hinders their decision-making?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 129(C), pages 546-561.

    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. Wilson, C. & Pettifor, H. & Chryssochoidis, G., 2018. "Quantitative modelling of why and how homeowners decide to renovate energy efficiently," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 212(C), pages 1333-1344.
    2. Robert Baumhof & Thomas Decker & Klaus Menrad, 2019. "A Comparative Analysis of House Owners in Need of Energy Efficiency Measures but with Different Intentions," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(12), pages 1-19, June.
    3. Curtis, John & McCoy, Daire & Aravena, Claudia, 2018. "Heating system upgrades: The role of knowledge, socio-demographics, building attributes and energy infrastructure," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 183-196.
    4. Murphy, Lorraine, 2014. "The influence of the Energy Performance Certificate: The Dutch case," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 664-672.
    5. Daniel Feser & Till Proeger, 2017. "Asymmetric information as a barrier to knowledge spillovers in expert markets," International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 211-232, March.
    6. Hecher, Maria & Hatzl, Stefanie & Knoeri, Christof & Posch, Alfred, 2017. "The trigger matters: The decision-making process for heating systems in the residential building sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 288-306.
    7. Rey-Moreno, Manuel & Medina-Molina, Cayetano, 2020. "Dual models and technological platforms for efficient management of water consumption," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 150(C).
    8. Sylwia Słupik & Joanna Kos-Łabędowicz & Joanna Trzęsiok, 2021. "An Innovative Approach to Energy Consumer Segmentation—A Behavioural Perspective. The Case of the Eco-Bot Project," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 14(12), pages 1-26, June.
    9. Kerr, N. & Winskel, M., 2020. "Household investment in home energy retrofit: A review of the evidence on effective public policy design for privately owned homes," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 123(C).
    10. Stefan Zundel & Immanuel Stieß, 2011. "Beyond Profitability of Energy-Saving Measures—Attitudes Towards Energy Saving," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 91-105, March.
    11. Inwon Kang & Deokhee Cheon & Matthew Shin, 2011. "Advertising strategy for outbound travel services," Service Business, Springer;Pan-Pacific Business Association, vol. 5(4), pages 361-380, December.
    12. Peng Cheng & Zhe Ouyang & Yang Liu, 0. "The effect of information overload on the intention of consumers to adopt electric vehicles," Transportation, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-20.
    13. Malin Jonell & Beatrice Crona & Kelsey Brown & Patrik Rönnbäck & Max Troell, 2016. "Eco-Labeled Seafood: Determinants for (Blue) Green Consumption," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(9), pages 1-19, September.
    14. Feser, Daniel & Runst, Petrik, 2015. "Energy efficiency consultants as change agents? Examining the reasons for EECs’ limited success," ifh Working Papers 1 (2015), Volkswirtschaftliches Institut für Mittelstand und Handwerk an der Universität Göttingen (ifh).
    15. Merja Halme & Kari Linden & Kimmo Kääriä, 2009. "Patients’ Preferences for Generic and Branded Over-the-Counter Medicines," The Patient: Patient-Centered Outcomes Research, Springer;International Academy of Health Preference Research, vol. 2(4), pages 243-255, December.
    16. Mahan, Joseph E. & Seo, Won Jae & Jordan, Jeremy S. & Funk, Daniel, 2015. "Exploring the impact of social networking sites on running involvement, running behavior, and social life satisfaction," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 182-192.
    17. Shoaib Azizi & Gireesh Nair & Thomas Olofsson, 2020. "Adoption of Energy Efficiency Measures in Renovation of Single-Family Houses: A Comparative Approach," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 13(22), pages 1-16, November.
    18. O'Cass, A., 2000. "An assessment of consumers product, purchase decision, advertising and consumption involvement in fashion clothing," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 21(5), pages 545-576, October.
    19. Eunae Jung & Hyungun Sung, 2017. "The Influence of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Outbreak on Online and Offline Markets for Retail Sales," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-23, March.
    20. Fischbacher, Urs & Schudy, Simeon & Teyssier, Sabrina, 2021. "Heterogeneous preferences and investments in energy saving measures," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).

    More about this item


    Energy efficient refurbishments; decision-making process; consumer purchase decision; energy efficiency policy;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    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:dui:wpaper:1708. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    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: Andreas Fritz (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 hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.