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Title: Exploring societal preferences for energy sufficiency measures in Switzerland
Authors : Moser, Corinne
Rösch, Andreas
Stauffacher, Michael
Published in : Frontiers in Energy Research : Energy Systems and Policy
Volume(Issue) : 3
Issue : 40
Publisher / Ed. Institution : Frontiers Research Foundation
Issue Date: 2015
License (according to publishing contract) : CC BY 4.0: Attribution 4.0 International
Type of review: Peer review (Publication)
Language : English
Subjects : Societal preferences; Sufficiency; Routine behaviour; Energy
Subject (DDC) : 333.7: Land, recreational areas and energy
Abstract: Many countries are facing a challenging transition towards more sustainable energy systems, which produce more renewables and consume less energy. The latter goal can only be achieved through a combination of efficiency measures and changes in people’s lifestyles and routine behaviours (i.e. sufficiency). While research has shown that acceptance of technical efficiency is relatively high, there is a lack of research on societal preferences for sufficiency measures. However, this is an important prerequisite for designing successful interventions to change behaviour. This paper analyses societal preferences for different energy-related behaviours in Switzerland. We use an online choice-based conjoint analysis (N=150) to examine preferences for behaviours with high technical potentials for energy demand reduction in the following domains: mobility, heating and food. Each domain comprises different attributes across three levels of sufficiency. Respondents were confronted with trade-off situations evoked through different fictional lifestyles that comprised different combinations of attribute levels. Through a series of trade-off decisions, participants were asked to choose their preferred lifestyle. The results revealed that a vegetarian diet was considered the most critical issue that respondents were unwilling to trade off, followed by distance to workplace and means of transportation. The highest willingness to trade off was found for adjustments in room temperature, holiday travel behaviours, and living space. Participants’ preferences for the most energy-sufficient lifestyles were rather low. However, the study showed that there were lifestyles with substantive energy-saving potentials that were well accepted among respondents. Our study results suggest that the success of energy-sufficiency interventions might depend strongly on the targeted behaviour. We speculate that they may face strong resistance (e.g., vegetarian diet). Thus, it seems promising to promote well-balanced lifestyles, rather than extremely energy-sufficient lifestyles, as potential role models for sufficiency.
Departement: School of Engineering
Organisational Unit: Institute of Sustainable Development (INE)
Publication type: Article in scientific Journal
DOI : 10.3389/fenrg.2015.00040
ISSN: 2296-598X
Appears in Collections:Publikationen School of Engineering

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