Socio-Economic Effect on ICT-Based Persuasive Interventions Towards Energy Efficiency in Tertiary Buildings


Occupants of tertiary environments rarely care about their energy consumption. This fact is even more accentuated in cases of buildings of public use. Such unawareness has been identified by many scholars as one of the main untapped opportunities with high energy saving potential in terms of cost-effectiveness. Towards that direction, there have been numerous studies exploring energy-related behaviour and the impact that our daily actions have on energy efficiency, demand response and flexibility of power systems. Nevertheless, there are still certain aspects that remain controversial and unidentified, especially in terms of socio-economic characteristics of the occupants with regards to bespoke tailored motivational and awareness-based campaigns. The presented work introduces a two-step survey, publicly available through Zenodo repository that covers social, economic, behavioural and demographic factors. The survey analysis aims to fully depict the drivers that affect occupant energy-related behaviour at tertiary buildings and the barriers which may hinder green actions. Moreover, the survey reports evidence on respondents’ self-assessment of fifteen known principles of persuasion intended to motivate them to behave pro-environmentally. The outcomes from the self-assessment help to shed light on understanding which of the Persuasive Principles may work better to nudge different user profiles towards doing greener actions at workplace. This study was conducted in four EU countries, six different cities and seven buildings, reaching more than three-hundred-and-fifty people. Specifically, a questionnaire was delivered before (PRE) and after (POST) a recommendation-based intervention towards pro-environmental behaviour through Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The findings from the PRE-pilot stage were used to refine the POST-pilot survey (e.g., we removed some questions that did not add value to one or several research questions or dismissed the assessment of Persuasive Principles (PPs) which were of low value to respondents in the pre-pilot survey). Both surveys validate “Cause and Effect”, “Conditioning” and “Self-monitoring” as the top PPs for affecting energy-related behaviour in a workplace context. Among other results, the descriptive and prescriptive analysis reveals the association effects of specific barriers, pro-environmental intentions and confidence in technology on forming new pro-environmental behaviour. The results of this study intend to set the foundations for future interventions based on persuasion through ICT to reduce unnecessary energy consumption. Among all types of tertiary buildings, we emphasise on the validity of the results provided for buildings of public use.