Buildings behaving badly: A behavioral experiment on how different motivational frames influence residential energy label adoption in the Netherlands

Jillian Student (Lead Author), Elissaios Papyrakis, Pieter van Beukering

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Heating buildings contributes to approximately 36% of Europe’s energy demand and several EU member states have adopted mandatory energy labels to improve energy efficiency by promoting home weatherization investments. This paper focuses on the perception of the energy label for residential buildings in the Netherlands and the role of different frames (egoistic, biospheric and social norms and neutral frames) in motivating adoption of energy labels for housing. We used a behavioral email experiment and an online survey to investigate these motivational factors. We find that biospheric frames are weaker than the other three motivational frames in terms of engaging interest in the energy label, but that the biospheric frame results in higher willingness to pay (WTP) for the energy label. We also find that age (rather than income) correlates with higher willingness to pay for home energy labels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107–132
JournalJournal of Housing and the Built Environment
Issue number1
Early online date1 Feb 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Building energy efficientcy
  • Energy conservation
  • Energy efficiency
  • (Residential) energy label
  • Motivating conservation behavior
  • Motivational (message) framing
  • Social norms
  • The Netherlands

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