University of Oslo University of Oslo

About the project


Understanding what shapes people’s energy consumption behavior is essential to designing effective information campaigns. This study takes an interdisciplinary approach to the question of how customer information programs affect energy consumers. We will use a combination of economics, social psychology, sociology and social anthropology to explore the underlying factors that affect how people use energy. We take it as given that energy use (as a social practice) varies from one cultural context to the next. This is due to differences in people's attitudes, values, social norms, as well as the different configurations of energy infrastructures and economic policies such as pricing and tax regimes. With such cultural variation at play, important questions are i) how customer information programs influence behaviour; ii) under what conditions such programs will influence behaviour; and iii) to what extent information design needs to be adopted to cultural context.  In order to analyse the potential need for different policy designs, we will conduct empirical studies in Norway and France  and also make comparative studies of the effectiveness of various forms of information in influencing energy consumption in these countries.


Research questions
The main research question of the project is how and under what conditions customer information programs influence consumer behavior and lead to more sustainable energy consumption? By sustainable we refer both to a shift from fossil to renewable sources and to a reduction in the general level of energy consumption.

We break this down into six research questions:

      • What are the relevant factors for explaining energy use in the household sector?
      • What barriers to more sustainable energy use?
      • What have been the effects of the power and emission disclosure scheme introduced through EU’s Electricity Directive on residential electricity consumption and choice of electricity product (2003/54/EC)?  
      • In what ways does the design of customer information programs affect residential energy consumption?
      • How do attitudes, perceptions and willingness to reduce energy consumption differ between countries?
      • Which implications can be drawn for policies aimed at reducing energy use and promoting shifts towards renewable sources of energy?



      The Project Group consists of researchers from CICERO (project leader), SUM and EDF (France). See also Partners and the Reference Group.

      Updated 25 August 2009, TW