M. Hawighorst; J. Bender; K. Weimer (chair); M. Fell; J. Urban (I-185). Location: A901

Influencing Factors on Thermal Comfort: Perceived Control, Thermo-specific Self-efficacy and Climate Sensitivity

M. Hawighorst, M. Schweiker, & A. Wagner

According to ASHRAE Standard 55 thermal comfort is the “condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment”. In the adaptive comfort model thermal comfort is described as being influenced by physiological, behavioural and psychological adaptive processes. However, the concept of psychological aspects is not sufficiently described yet. Thus, in order to get insights in the relationship between physiological, psychological and behavioural adaptive processes a field study in summer season was conducted in 3 office buildings (N=109) with a focus on personality traits, perceived control over the environment, climate sensitivity and thermal comfort. A new questionnaire concerning perceived self-efficacy regarding the thermal environment at the workplace was developed. In addition, physical data such as room temperature were recorded and physiological data such as moisture of the stratum corneum. Results show relationships between personality traits, thermal perception, physical and physiological measurements, e.g. individuals who are cold-sensitive seem to have a lower moisture of the stratum corneum and finger temperature than not cold-sensitive individuals. Persons having a higher thermo-specific self-efficacy experienced their thermal environment differently to persons with lower self-efficacy. All in all personality traits influencing thermal comfort show an ambiguous pattern and should be investigated to a greater extend.

Environmental values shape environmental behaviour if they are threatened in the situation and central to the self-concept

J. Bender, T. Rothmund, P. Nauroth, & M. Gollwitzer

People frequently fail to live up to their environmental values. Across two studies, we investigated when and why environmental values shape environmental behaviour. Based on the anxiety-to-approach-model (Jonas et al., 2014) and the value-protection-model (Tetlock, 2003), we hypothesized that the more central environmental values are to people’s self-concept, the more people show political environmental behaviour. However, this should only hold true for a situation in which environmental values are threatened. In both studies, we situationally induced threat against environmental values and measured value-centrality of environmental values. Actual political behaviour was measured by giving participants the opportunity to sign petitions against genetically modified food (=GMF). Moderated regression analyses revealed that value-centrality was positively related to political behaviour in the condition with induced threat against environmental values, but not in the control condition. Specifically, the more people defined themselves in terms of environmental values, the more they showed political behaviour against GMF, but only if environmental values were threatened in the situation. Our findings show that values do not influence environmental behaviour by default. Rather, environmental values translate into behaviour under specific boundary conditions, namely if they are threatened in the situation and central to the self-concept.

Value orientations, environmental concern, locus of control,   moral judgment competence and sense of coherence as   determinants of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions

K. Weimer, R. Ahlström, & J. Lisspers

The predictive power of value orientations, awareness of consequences, environmental concern, locus of control, moral judgment competence and sense of coherence on eight types of pro-environmental behaviors and behavioral intentions (i.e. residential energy conservation, food consumption, transportation, and recycling) were examined based on a survey completed by 463 residents in two Swedish cities. Multiple regression analyses confirmed values, awareness of consequences and environmental concern as determinants of environmental friendly behaviors and behavioral intentions, as well as sense of coherence was a determinant of pro-environmental behaviors. Locus of control and moral judgment competence showed no predictive power on neither pro-environmental behaviors or on behavioral intentions, and sense of coherence did not predict behavioral intentions. The need of more environmentally specific measures of the predictors in relation to specific behaviors was discussed. 

What affects people’s perceived locus of control in relation to home energy use?

M. J. Fell, D. Shipworth, G. M. Huebner, & C. Elwell

People’s perceived locus of control (PLOC) describes the extent to which they believe they personally influence events which affect them. This specific concept has received relatively little attention in the study of energy demand, but is of interest in situations where there is objective external influence over people’s energy consumption, such as in demand-side response programmes. This study explores the factors that may be associated with internal or external PLOC in relation to energy, and considers the significance of this for energy research, especially as it relates to demand-side response. Items intended to gauge PLOC in relation to home energy use were included in an online survey administered to a representative sample of the population of Great Britain (n=1981), which also captured socio-demographic and attitudinal variables. An internal PLOC was significantly associated with being retired and with being a lone occupant. External PLOC was associated with being aged 18-24 and with having concerns about the future affordability of energy. People with more external PLOC were more likely to express acceptance of a demand-side response electricity tariff permitting limited remote control of their heating system. The potential implications of this are discussed, both for tariff uptake and for the people involved.

No gap between behaviour and impact: conservation attitudes correlate with carbon footprint

J. Urban

Recent empirical studies show that there is no relationship between people's general environmental attitudes and actual impacts of their behaviour measured by carbon footprint (see, e.g., Csutora, 2012; Buchan, 2011). Building on the Campell's conception of attitudes (Campbell, 1963; Kaiser et al., 2010), we argue that the lack of the relationship is due to the fact that general environmental attitudes were measured only through evaluative statements in previous studies. We hypothesize that behaviour-based measure of general environmental attitudes should correlate with carbon footprint (CFP). We conducted a 2-wave panel survey of general populations (N=1251). Respondents' general environmental attitude is measured through GEB scale. Two weeks later, we re-contacted respondents and asked them to calculate their transport-, food-, and waste-related carbon footprint using online calculator. We found small, yet statistically significant correlations between general attitudes and transport-related CFP (r=0.11, p<0.001), food-related CFP (r=0.2, p<0.001), and also waste-related CFP (r=0.17, p<0.001). General environmental attitude correlates with carbon footprint. Relatively small size of the correlation is probably due to the fact that other motives other than environmental protection may lead people to cut on activities responsible for GHG emissions.