Psychological and demographic factors affecting household energy-saving intentions: A TPB-based study in northwest China

Xuan Liu, Qiancheng Wang, Hsi Hsien Wei, Hung Lin Chi, Yaotian Ma, Izzy Yi Jian

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

77 Citations (Scopus)


Changing energy consumption behavior is a promising strategy to enhance household energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emission. Understanding the role of psychological and demographic factors in the context of energy-conservation behaviors is critical to promote energy-saving behaviors in buildings. This study first proposes a theoretical framework built on the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). Based on the collected survey data from 207 families (553 residents) in three communities in Xi'an, a typical city in northwest China, the research examines how three standard TPB predictors, namely attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control, as well as their interactive effects and three socio-demographic factors (i.e., house ownership, education and household income) influence building occupants' energy-saving intention at home. Through structural equation modeling and keyword analysis, this study reveals that two interaction terms, namely attitude and subjective norms, as well as attitude and perceived behavior control, significantly influence building occupants' energy-saving intention. Furthermore, this study implies that household income may positively associate with occupants' energy-saving intention. The model in this study would be conducive to architects and property managers to mitigate severe building energy overuse problem in design and operation stages. Based on a qualitative analysis, the study then discusses the limitations of the study and further research direction. The results of this study would be conducive to building designers and operators to develop customized architectural or informatic interventions and to mitigate the severe energy overuse problem in the residential sector in northwest China.

Original languageEnglish
Article number836
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jan 2020


  • Energy-saving
  • Household
  • Northwest china
  • Pro-environmental behavior
  • Theory of planned behavior (TPB)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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