The aim of this study was to take a broad approach to understanding domestic energy consumption and identify difficulties in energy reduction. The study focused on a variety of factors, including barriers and motivators for behaviour change, comfort and comfort actions and knowledge about the heating system. Data collection was carried out with 55 social housing tenants in England using interviews and questionnaires. Data showed that tenants were to a large degree already engaged in energy-saving actions. ‘Warmth’ was the most important aspect of comfort for the majority of tenants but about half of both comfort actions and actions against cold were not energy-intensive. ‘Habit’ was identified as the most important barrier to behaviour change whilst ‘money’ was seen as the greatest motivator. A deficit regarding quality and quantity of instructions on the usage of the heating system emerged. The results imply that social housing landlords have the responsibility to provide better instructions on the most efficient home operation. They could play a large role in changing tenants’ habits, for example when implementing physical changes to the dwelling.
Keywords: energy consumption, behaviour change, social housing, comfort, habit, heating system, social housing tenants