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A closer look into the European Energy Performance Certificates under the lenses of behavioural insights – a comparative analysis

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) aims at promoting energy efficiency in the residential sector by allowing prospective buyers and renters to compare dwellings in terms of current and potential energy performance. Yet, the impact of the EPC on the purchase and renovation decisions is limited. The research hypothesis is that the framing of the information is an important determinant alongside the calculation method and the training of the certifiers. By framing of the information is meant the content, the wording and the layout. The present paper analyses how the technical information is translated for the dwellers and focuses on a possible heuristic interpretation of the information. Firstly, a theoretical framework of deliberative and heuristic thinking is presented, with its implication to policymaking. Secondly, the findings of a qualitative inquiry of existing certificates, undertaken in two phases (a comparative analysis and a focus group), are presented. The certificates of nine European countries/regions revealed a wide range of information framings and potential nudges that have been analysed through the ‘lenses’ of behavioural insights. Even if nudging is not a purpose, heuristic thinking might influence the understanding of the information since no message is neutral. Contrary to common misinterpretation that nudging exploits exclusively individual’s heuristic thinking, certain types of nudges address the rationality of people by avoiding an existing bias. These findings were analysed in depth in a focus group with experts. Recommendations are provided in order to render the EPC an effective communication tool with the dwellers.
Journal: Energy efficiency (Print)
ISSN: 1570-646X
Issue: 7
Volume: 11
Pages: 1745 - 1761
Publication year:2018
Keywords:retrofit, energy efficiency, EPC, nudges, policymaking, focus group
BOF-publication weight:1
CSS-citation score:1
Authors from:Higher Education