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Change Mechanisms in the Diffusion of Residential Energy Conservation Practices: An Empirical Study

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Brown, M. A.


Technology Forecasting Social Change, Number 25, p.123-138 (1984)



Four types of variables that affect the diffusion of home energy conservation measures are assessed.^These variables are the information possessed by households, household attitudes, the economic and demographic characteristics of households, and the attributes of conservation measures.^A casual model of behavior change is presented based on Fishbein`s theory of reasoned action.^The model is tested using panel data on 225 homeowners from Decatur, Illinois and two conservation practices: employing winter night-time thermostat setbacks and adding attic insulation.^The results illustrate the importance of all four change mechanisms.^Many nonadopters have erroneous information about the financial and other benefits of the two practices.^The elderly and the poor are particularly ill-informed.^Negative attitudes are closely related to discomfort (for night-time setback) and expense (for attic insulation).^As expected, barriers and incentives differ across population subgroups and innovations.