Distinguishing between green building occupants reasoned and unplanned behaviours

Elizabeth L. Hewitt, Clinton J. Andrews, Jennifer A. Senick, Richard E. Wener, Uta Krogmann, Maryann Sorensen Allacci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several frameworks incorporate social and psychological elements of environmentally significant behaviour, and most assume cognitive and deliberate decision-making. Household energy consumption behaviours, however, span a spectrum from reasoned and deliberate to unplanned and automatic. The aim of this paper is to advance knowledge of reasoned and unplanned behaviours in the context of pro-environmental action. Using results of a survey administered to occupants of an urban residential green building, this study explores five household consumption behaviours and tests the hypothesis that unplanned behaviours will be poorly predicted by a reasoned, values-based behavioural framework. Using path analyses, variables in a values-based framework are used to predict surveyed behaviours. Findings indicate that behaviours hypothesized to be unplanned were not well predicted by the values-based framework. The framework successfully predicted what was hypothesized to be a fully reasoned behaviour. Three potential reasons are discussed for the lack of prediction of some behaviours. A deeper understanding of how unplanned, automatic or habitual behaviours intervene in conservation intentions can help policy-makers and building designers better respond to influences of occupant behaviour on building performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-134
Number of pages16
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 17 2016


  • consumption
  • environmental beliefs
  • habits
  • household
  • inhabitants
  • occupant behaviour
  • reasoned behaviour
  • residential
  • values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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