Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Gender Difference in Environmental Attitude and Behaviors in Adoption of Energy-Efficient Lighting at Home

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Gender Difference in Environmental Attitude and Behaviors in Adoption of Energy-Efficient Lighting at Home

Article excerpt


During the past decade, residential consumers' adoption of energy-efficient lighting has increased slowly in the United States. To identify residential consumers' attitudes and behaviors toward the adoption of energy-efficient lighting, this study examined gender differences in (1) residential consumers' environmental behaviors in relation to lighting practice and (2) background variables of environmental behaviors including ecological value orientation, subjective norms, and lighting perceptions. Data were collected from residents in a Midwestern town in the United States; 303 surveys were used for the analysis. The findings indicated that women were more likely to engage in energy-saving practices and were more willing to pay a higher price for energy-efficient light sources. However, no gender differences emerged in the purchase of energy-efficient light sources and support for policies banning inefficient incandescent light sources. In terms of environmental attitudes, women scored significantly higher in altruistic and biospheric values than men, yet there was no difference in egoistic values. In addition, compared to men, women scored higher on subjective norms in the adoption of energy-efficient lighting. Finally, women were more likely to perceive lighting as an important factor in their everyday lives, prefer incandescent lighting, and perceive fluorescent lighting as having negative effects on human health. This study expects to contribute to the theoretical knowledge of gender differences in environmental research and provide policy makers and consumer scientists with understanding about the role of gender in residential consumers' adoption of energy-efficient lighting.

Keywords: energy-efficient lighting, gender, environmentally responsible behavior

1. Introduction

Over the past decade, the American lighting market has been moving toward more energy-efficient lighting technologies (U.S. Department of Energy [DOE], 2012). According to the 2010 U.S. Lighting Market Characterization report (DOE, 2012), all sectors-including commercial, residential, outdoor, and industrial sectors-have become more efficient by replacing inefficient incandescent lamps with energy-efficient lamps, such as fluorescent or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). However, the DOE's (2012) report indicated that the highest energy-consuming lamps in the residential sector are still incandescent lamps, accounting for approximately 78% of the sector's total consumptions. Although energy consumption for lighting can be reduced by 50% to 75% by using more energy-efficient lighting, such as CFLs or light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, residential consumers' adoption of energy-efficient lighting technologies has been slow, not only in the United States (DOE, 2012), but also in other countries (Reynolds, DeSisto, Murray, & Kolodinsky, 2007). Considering that 71% of all lamp installations nationwide in the United States are used in the residential sector (DOE, 2012), it is critical to seek effective ways to promote residential consumers' adoption of energy-efficient lighting by identifying why many households are still not willing to use energy-efficient lighting.

Consumers' environmental behaviors have been increasingly explored in terms of consumers' purchase of green products or energy-consumption behaviors. Most studies have generally focused on psychological and contextual reasons to explain why individuals do or do not engage in environmentally responsible actions (e.g., Jakob, 2007; Manzan & Zerom, 2006; Rehdanz, 2007). Various factors have been identified as influential predictors of consumers' environmental behaviors, including knowledge and values as well as situational and economic barriers (e.g., Steg, 2008). However, few studies have focused on whether consumers' environmental behaviors differ across sub-groups, such as gender within the target population (e.g., Blocker & Eckberg, 1997; Zelezny, Chua, & Aldrich, 2000). …

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