Residential Electricity Consumption: The Role of Psychological Factors : An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Energy-Saving Attitudes and Intentions on Residential Electricity Consumption
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- Master Thesis 
Given the more frequent occurrence of weather extremes, growing awareness and responsibility of the climate crisis and its consequences can be observed within the population. It seems as if growing climate change concerns ultimately lead to more and more people switching to an ecological lifestyle. However, from time to time, one does observe a divergence of what individuals claim to do in order to limit the effects of climate change and what they actually do. This so-called green gap was verified in several domains of human behavior, among others, in residential energy-conserving behavior. As energy consumption is one of the main contributors to a household’s carbon footprint, improving one’s understanding of the determinants of residential energy consumption behavior is fundamental to promoting energy-conserving behavior effectively, thereby limiting climate change. Therefore, this thesis used an explanatory research approach to investigate the relationship between the psychological variables energy-saving attitudes and intentions and electricity consumption. The study is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior. The IDEAL Household Energy Dataset, published by the University of Edinburgh, served as the primary data source. This master’s thesis focused on 30 Scottish single-households. The households’ responses to survey questions measuring energy-saving attitudes and intentions were matched with electricity consumption estimates based on sensor data measuring instantaneous power usage over a period of more than five weeks. The results indicate that energy-saving attitudes have a negative effect on electricity consumption, whereas energy-saving intentions do not impact actual electricity consumption to a statistically significant degree. Moreover, a mediating effect of energy-saving intentions on the relationship between energy-saving attitudes and electricity consumption, which is based on the Theory of Planned Behavior, could not be detected. This study contributes to the residential energy-conserving literature focusing on psychological factors by (1) using actual energy consumption data, (2) focusing on single households, and (3) providing evidence for the importance of controlling for the time an individual spends at home.