Saving energy when others pay the bill

Anouk M. Griffioen

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Even though much previous work on energy use behavior has focused on residential energy use, people spend a great portion of their day outside their home, while individuals are often still the end-user of energy (e.g., electricity, water) in such out–of-home situations. This dissertation therefore aimed to provide more insight in how energy saving behavior can be stimulated in situations in which “others pay the bill.” We applied construal level theory as a general framework to classify intervention approaches and to understand how different approaches affect short-term, long-term and spillover behavior. Moreover, we were interested in the effectiveness of combined intervention approaches and show that construal level may play an important role in determining whether intervention approaches enforce one another or actually invalidate the effectiveness of each individual manipulation. Our findings suggest that combinations are most effective when they are at the same construal level. Additionally, in order to determine whether high or low construal level approaches are more effective one should be aware of a number of factors. As such, we show that it is important to take the type of situation into account (e.g., a short-term hotel visit is better aligned with a low construal level), how much people value the environment (e.g., is there still room for improvement?) and whether spillover effects are also desirable (e.g., high construal level thinking facilitates more positive spillover). Finally, throughout this dissertation we have focused on the effects of interventions on objectively measured behavior and consider this an important feature to focus on. We think that future work would highly benefit from using objective measures of behavior in order to understand what kind of methods have the most long-lasting effect across multiple energy-related and pro-environmental behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • Antonides, Gerrit, Promotor
  • Handgraaf, Michel, Co-promotor
Award date23 Oct 2018
Place of PublicationWageningen
Print ISBNs9789463433372
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Saving energy when others pay the bill'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this