Behavioral Interventions to Promote Energy Efficiency

Central to the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, the mitigation of climate change is one of the most pressing challenges our society is facing. Many national and international initiatives have been launched aiming at the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The success of these initiatives, however, does not only require the development of new technologies, but also substantial changes in individual behavior. Research in the behavioral sciences has demonstrated that behavior change can be facilitated through choice architecture, the careful design of the environment in which consumers make decisions. Our understanding of the effects of choice architectural tools on different consumer groups or population segments is still limited. This project aims to address this knowledge gap by integrating our expertise in the fields of environmental decision science and affective sciences. Specifically, we will develop and implement a first comparative study to investigate possible behavioral and cognitive differences between European and North American consumers in response to interventions that aim to promote energy efficiency. The results of this collaborative research project are not only of high theoretical relevance but may also inform the development and implementation of intervention strategies and policies in the energy domain. The project focus is in line with the highly prioritized Sustainability Development Goals of the University of Geneva and the Princeton University Sustainability Plan. The project will initiate a lasting collaboration between our research groups and between the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences and the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment.   Participants Prof. Tobias Brosch University of Geneva, Swiss Center for Affective Sciences/Department of Psychology Prof. Elke Weber Princeton University, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment Stephanie Mertens University of Geneva, Swiss Center for Affective Sciences/Department of Psychology