Energy Conservation Behavior: A Critique of the Cost-Minimization Model, and a Review of Some Alternative Models

Paul S. Komor
Lyima L. Wiggins

DOI: 10.2190/NYA6-1H6Q-DUUU-X2KR


Methods commonly used to predict the effects of energy conservation programs, such as end-use models and discount rate estimates, make implicit use of the rational microeconomic model. This model is weak as a descriptive model, due in part to the rationality assumption, the exclusion of nonfinancial goals, and the failure to differentiate between perceived and actual costs. This article critiques the discount-rate model, and provides empirical evidence supporting the rejection of this model. Alternative techniques for modeling individual conservation choice are discussed, including the diffusion of innovations model, the attitude-behavior model, and the marketing model.

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