EU could save 20% of energy consumed by changing behaviour

Up to 20% of the energy consumed in the EU could be saved through behaviour change but in order to reach this, the region needs to develop effective energy efficiency policies, a new report claims.

In 2010, European households consumed almost 13% more energy than two decades ago and generated 25% of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions, highlighting the need to encourage behavioural change amongst the 27-Member State.

According to the report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) this trend must be reversed if the EU is to reach its goal of reducing primary energy consumption by 20 % by 2020.

The report, Achieving energy efficiency through behaviour change: what does it take?, reviews recent studies on behaviour change and energy use.

It shows that up to 20% of the energy currently consumed in the EU can be saved through a number of measures to encourage behaviour change.

The report highlights several factors in order to create a change in behaviour, including designing energy efficiency policies to take into account factors that influence consumer behaviour and becoming mindful that energy infrastructure plays an active role in determining what people consider “normal” from the energy consumption point of view.

“The cars we drive, the buildings we live in, the way the energy services are delivered to us, all influence the way we think about energy,” the report states.

“The focus should be placed on consumption practices and how they take hold in society involving a wide range of actors,” it adds.

Leigh Stringer

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