Energy consumption is a major contributor to global warming, while increasing household energy efficiency is recognised as a proven tool to decrease greenhouse gases emissions. However, a lot of responsibility for improving energy efficiency lies on individual households and is rooted in their behaviours. Therefore, it is essential to study what drives individuals to act pro-environmentally and how the acceptance of energy efficiency devises can be influenced and increased. Building on the studies in environmental psychology, and the goal framing theory in particular, this research examines how the incorporation of difference motives in promotional messages impacts the effectiveness of these messages reflected in the attitude towards energy efficiency upgrades and the intention to adopt them. Additionally, it studies the effects of the three types of environmental concern on attitude towards and intention to engage in pro-environmental behaviour after the exposure to different motives. To answer the research questions, an online experiment was conducted. The experimental groups were exposed to three different messages with activated goal frames, namely hedonic goal, gain goal and normative goal. The effect of the messages was measured on attitude and intention scales. The data for the analysis was collected from 123 participants recruited in the Netherlands in April-May 2022. The results of the analysis demonstrated that the inclusion of gain and normative goal frames has a direct positive effect on attitude towards implementing energy efficiency upgrades, namely, installing a heat pump. Additionally, the incorporation of gain goal positively affects the intention to install a heat pump. Egoistic, biospheric and socio-altruistic environmental concern were found to be positively correlated with attitude, while biospheric and socio-altruistic types also positively correlated with intention. Moreover, biospheric concern moderated the effect of gain goal frame. In particular, the participants with a greater level of biospheric environmental concern had less positive attitude towards installing a heat pump after being exposed to gain goal message, compared with those with a lower level of biospheric concern. These findings have practical implications for mass communicators and marketing professionals as they can improve communication campaigns about household energy efficiency upgrades and encourage efficiency behaviour.

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Anne-Marie van Prooijen
Media & Business
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Liubov Glazunova. (2022, June 27). FRAMING PROMOTIONAL MESSAGES FOR HOUSEHOLD ENERGY EFFICIENCY UPGRADES A quantitative study applying the goal-framing theory to the promotion of heat pumps in Dutch households. Media & Business. Retrieved from