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Personal Values and Commitment to Energy Conservation

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Neuman, K.


Environment and Behavior, Volume 18, Number 1, p.53-74 (1986)



energy efficiency, knowledge, values


Human values represent an important but neglected level of analysis in the study of energy conservation behavior. This article examines the role values play in people's commitment to energy conservation, using data from an in-depth survey of 376 households in Southern California. The impact of values on commitment is considered in terms of a theoretical framework that includes attributes of the person and his or her context. The results indicated that a number of values (particularly those pertaining to environmental quality and personal growth) were weakly but positively related to both conservation behavior and beliefs about the efficacy and necessity of conservation. Values influenced behavioral commitment independently of person and contextual factors, but did not predict such behavior above and beyond these other factors. It is concluded that personal values do not exert a major impact on personal commitment to conserve and therefore do not constitute a significant obstacle to such efforts. Public policy efforts directed at promoting conservation should therefore focus on providing services and resources that enhance the public's opportunities for channeling their willingness to conserve into concrete action.