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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25378

Title: Energy Performance Certificate –experiments on information framing
Authors: Taranu, Victoria
Issue Date: 2017
Citation: 2017 UCD PhD Conference in Behavioural Science, Dublin, Ireland, 30/11/2017
Abstract: The energy performance certificate (EPC) is an information provision tool that enables prospective buyers and renters to compare dwellings in terms of energy performance. Besides, it aims to encourage the uptake of the recommended energy-efficient renovation measures. The EPC gathers technical concepts and translates them into accessible terms. Up to now, it was assumed that people are able and willing to process this technical information in a rational way. Even if we assume a cognitive and consequentialist decision making, previous experiments on energy labels of cars, heating systems and appliances reveal a wide range of cognitive biases [1-5]. Besides cognitive limitations, affect heuristic might play a role [6-8]. Therefore the impact and understanding of the information on the EPC might be different than expected. Our research hypothesis is that the framing of the information plays an important role for the efficiency of the EPC as a policy tool, alongside calculation method and quality assurance. By information framings we intend the content, the wording and the layout. The present study investigates the impact of alternative information framings of the new version of the Flemish EPC, that it is yet to be publicly released. In a previous qualitative analysis hypotheses were derived from a comparative analysis of nine European EPCs and a focus group with experts. The comparative analysis revealed a large range of information framings and potential nudges such as anchoring, social norm, salience and discounting the future. The focus group with experts aimed to gain additional insights into the Flemish context and to narrow down the available hypotheses to be tested quantitatively with experiments. The present paper will discuss the outcome of this experimental study. Firstly, it will be investigated whether the newly proposed energy indicator of the Flemish EPC reflects properly the energy performance of a dwelling compared to the rest of the building stock and compared to the most and least energy-efficient building imagined. Findings from the focus group hints towards an over-optimism in assessing the EPC score of a particular dwelling due to an underestimation of the rest of the Flemish buildings on the market. Secondly, our experiments aim to verify whether nudges such as anchoring and social norm play a role in correcting biases. Proposed nudges are in line with two main goals of the EPC – that energy performance of the dwelling plays a role in the purchase and renting decisions; and to encourage the uptake of the recommended energy-efficiency measures. Preliminary results of the pilot test will be summarized. Between-subject design was chosen, one respondent being presented with one experimental condition and two dwellings with different energy performance scores.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/25378
Category: C2
Type: Conference Material
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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