Reducing Energy Consumption

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The Swiss Environmental Survey 2016 is the central part of the research project "Reducing Energy Consumption and Promoting Green Electricity. The Role of Soft Incentives".

This research project is part of the National Research Programme "Managing Energy Consumption" (NRP 71) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Further information on the National Research Programme can be found at

Soft incentives and energy consumption

One of the goals of "Energy Strategy 2050" is to reduce final energy consumption. Most research into environmental behaviour focuses on monetary incentives such as price effects, but little is known about the effect of soft incentives. This project aims to fill these gaps by experimentally analysing the effects of soft incentives on energy saving and the use of green power.

The aim of this project is to study energy-saving behaviour and the use of green power in households in the areas of electricity, mobility, heating, nutrition and consumption. A key question here is how soft (i.e. non-monetary) incentives such as social rewards and descriptive norms encourage energy saving and the use of green power. This will be examined on two scales: a) the Swiss population and b) customers of two electricity suppliers.

The applied methods include longitudinal survey designs, stated choice experiments, survey-based intervention studies, field experiments and natural experiments.

Contribution to the realisation of "Energy Strategy 2050"

One of the goals of "Energy Strategy 2050" is to reduce final energy consumption. If proved successful, the measures examined in the project (descriptive norm, symbolic rewards, default options) will directly reduce energy consumption and promote the use of renewable energy. The project will therefore facilitate the identification of target groups for future policy interventions.


Bruderer Enzler, Heidi and Diekmann, Andreas
Environmental Impact and Pro-Environmental Behavior: Correlations to Income and Environmental Concern.

2015, ETH Zurich Sociology Working Papers, 9, retrieved from:

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