The human factor in energy efficiency: lessons from developing countries

The human factor in energy efficiency: lessons from developing countries

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Pegels, Anna / Aurelia Figueroa / Babette Never

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) / Pretoria: National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA)

Energy efficiency has a plethora of benefits on the individual, organisational, and social levels. However, there is still a gap between knowledge and implementation. While market failure serves as an important barrier to energy efficiency uptake, so do the characteristics of human behaviour. Literature on human behaviour reveals many entry points for the inclusion of ‘behavioural insights’ in the design of energy efficiency programmes.
Drawing from case studies on small and large industry in Colombia, India, South Africa, and Uganda, this report aims to provide practitioners with illustrations of how insights into human behaviour can be effectively integrated into energy efficiency programmes. The incorporation of behavioural insights should consider four aspects: the cultural context of the target group, windows of opportunity for the intervention, drivers and motivations, and the overall fit of the intervention with the package of measures.

About the authors

Figueroa, Aurelia



Never, Babette

Political Scientist


Pegels, Anna



Further experts

Altenburg, Tilman

Economic Geographer 

Bauer, Steffen

Political scientist 

Brandi, Clara

Economist and Political Scientist 

Horstmann, Britta


Chan, Sander

Enviroment Policy 

Fuhrmann, Hanna


Gudibande, Rohan


Keil, Jonas


Kuhn, Sascha

Social Psychologist 

Mathis, Okka Lou

Political Scientist 

Malerba, Daniele


Bencini, Jacopo

Environmental Researcher 

Iacobuta, Gabriela

Environmental Researcher 

Hernandez, Ariel

Political Scientiest 

Weinsheimer, Felix

Political Scientist