Sufficiency before efficiency: consumers’ profiling and barriers/facilitators of energy efficient behaviours

Rui Gaspar*, Dalila Antunes, Ana Faria, Andreas Meiszner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Even if consumers have positive attitudes towards the environment and household energy conservation measures, and are seemingly motivated to implement them, there are factors that function as barriers to such behaviours. The literature is still insufficient in exploring variables with such negative influence and in identifying ways of shielding consumers against it. A first step towards the latter can be achieved through energy consumers’ psychosocial profiles identification, i.e. configurations of consumer characteristics based on a set of psychosocial factors. To contribute in this regard, a nationwide survey of Portuguese householders aimed to identify: 1) psychosocial factors that may function as barriers or facilitators to energy conservation measures implementation; and 2) psychosocial consumer profiles defined based on facilitators, i.e. factors with a positive/facilitative influence over such implementation. Despite highly positive environmental and energy conservation attitudes, householders reported that what they did was “sufficient”. This perceived “sufficiency” functioned as a justification for not “doing more” which, in addition to consumption estimation biases, seemingly constituted energy conservation barriers. Additionally, a k-means Cluster Analysis identified specific configurations of psychosocial factors – consumer profiles – that may function as energy conservation facilitators. Applying procedures as exemplified in this study may therefore enable tailoring behaviour change interventions to the different identified energy consumer's profiles, in order to promote energy efficient household behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-142
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioural barriers
  • Behavioural facilitators
  • Consumer profiles
  • Energy efficiency
  • Household energy consumption


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