Energy Saving Intentions: The Role of Personal Values and a Combined TPB-VBN Theoretical Model

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation


The energy sector accounts for over 75% of UK human-caused greenhouse gas emissions (Climate Watch, 2023). To meet net-zero emissions, behavioural and technological changes are needed, meaning that energy-related interventions may become more frequent. These interventions can frame consequences of energy-saving in several ways, e.g., economic, or environmental impacts. The framing method used was reported to affect other pro-environmental intervention's effectiveness, and factors such as personal values have been found to impact this effect (e.g., van den Broek et al., 2017). Additionally, these interventions often cite behavioural models such as the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB; Ajzen, 1991) and Value Belief Norm model (VBN; Stern, 2000). Both of these models faced criticism (Kaiser et al., 2006) leading researchers to suggest a combination of the two models to explain pro-environmental behaviours. Therefore, this study examined the effectiveness of an information-based energy-saving intervention and possible significant factors, e.g., information-framing and households’ socio-economic characteristics. In addition, it investigated the explanatory power of several behavioural models, including a combined TPB-VBN model, when examining energy-related behaviour.

The study used a randomised-control-trial design to deliver an online field experiment to 500 participants. Each participant filled in several surveys recording data including their energy meter readings and personal values, as well as an energy-saving leaflet.

Preliminary results suggested that the intervention’s framing impacted its effectiveness, according to participants’ values whilst participants’ socio-economic and property characteristics impacted their energy use and ability to save energy. Additionally, the combined TPB-VBN model significantly explained participants’ behaviour, greater than individual models. These findings will inform future policies and energy-saving interventions how to effectively frame their information based on their audience. By identifying whether a combined TPB-VBN model, this study can also improve our understanding of energy-related behaviour.

Keywords: energy-saving behaviours, framing information, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Value-Belief Norm model
Period20 Oct 2023
Event title10th International Conference on Applied Psychology and Educational Sciences 2023
Event typeConference
LocationIasi, RomaniaShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • energy saving
  • framing information
  • theory of planned behaviour
  • Value-Belief Norm model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy(all)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)