Increasing our understanding of the factors that influence energy saving behaviour could help in the development of more effective energy saving interventions. This paper describes the first phase of the EnerGAware project which aims to develop a serious game for social housing tenants in the UK. A survey was conducted to inform the design of the game, which investigated the relationship between psychological factors, context-specific factors (i.e. dwelling characteristics and monetary concerns), and energy saving behaviours. In total, 537 households completed a postal survey, with a response rate of 19.4%. The results showed that experiencing difficulty in keeping the home comfortably warm in winter related to behaviour. In particular, concerns about the affordability of heating seemed to be related to more frequent heating-related energy saving behaviours. Experiencing issues with overheating, damp, mould or condensation – and general concerns about energy bills, did not relate to energy saving behaviours. Overall, the psychological factors measured in the study related more strongly to energy saving behaviours; especially the ability to imagine energy use and strong social norms had a positive relationship with energy saving behaviour. The implications of the findings for the design of the serious game are discussed. Thus, the study uses a combined approach examining psychological and contextual factors to illustrate how important behavioural motivators relevant to a specific group of householders can be included in the design of an intervention.

Publication Date


Publication Title

Default journal

Organisational Unit

School of Psychology


Energy saving, Behaviour, Social housing, Fuel Poverty