Household Energy Conservation from Elementary Science Teacher Candidates Perspective

This study was conducted to understand the complex nature of gender differentiation in household energy consumption, and uncover the factors characterizing Turkish female university students' contribution on household energy conservation. Specifically, the study hypothesized that energy-related attributes would significantly differentiate female and male students, and tested the effectiveness of Value-Belief-Norm (VBN) theory in explaining female's household energy conservation behaviors. Participants were 986 elementary science teacher candidates (74% female) from public universities in Turkey. The data were collected by administration of a survey designed to assess constructs regarding household energy conservation in the framework of VBN theory. The results supported the claim that females differ significantly from males in household energy conservation behaviors. Females were more likely act as role models for pupils in terms of household energy conservation. The results also provided some clues relating to the determinants of engagement in energy conservation for female university students. Keywords: Household Energy Conservation, Value-Belief-Norm Theory, Teacher Candidates, Gender Introduction Being one of the world trends showing the stress on physical and biological systems, climate change has been recognized as one of the greatest environmental problems we have ever come across on a global scale. Evidence shows that anthropogenic climate change is linked to human consumption patterns. Looking at the focus point of climate debates, overconsumption of energy has emerged as a common pattern in the consumerist lifestyles of developed and developing countries. It was reported that in the worldwide, the energy sector accounts for 60% of total greenhouse gas emissions (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change [UNFCCC], 2010). Considering the challenges that we face while combating the adverse consequences of climate change, it is required to make radical changes in our lifestyles to reduce energy consumption. Having a growing economy, Turkey has been putting pressure on climate change with a substantial increase in emission of greenhouse gases. In the way of the European Union accession process, to decrease greenhouse gas emissions pertaining to consumption of electricity, some legislative arrangements involving the use of renewable energy sources, efficient and smart consumption of energy, and the use of nuclear energy in energy generation are in effect (Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, 2010). However, recent documents reporting that energy consumption in Turkey increased by about 9.8% in 2010 when compared to the rate in 2009 (Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, 2011), reflecting the need for further strategies. Such trends enforce experts to focus on the following question: Which factors are influential on an individual's engagement in energy conservation behaviors? Providing an answer to this question is crucially important to develop some strategies for effective use of household energy. Indeed, considerable attempts have been made by researchers to clarify the factors pertaining to individuals' engagement in a particular pro-environmental action by either paying attention to socio-psychological theories or focusing on the role of socio-demographics. From the socio-psychological perspective, Stem and colleagues' Value-Belief-Norm Theory (VBN) emerged as one of the influential theory in explaining any kind of environmentally significant behaviors, including energy conservation behaviors (e.g., Nordlund, and Garvill, 2002; Stem, 2000). Value-Belief-Norm Theory, as an inclusion of values, environmental beliefs (awareness of consequences, ascription of responsibility, the New Environmental Paradigm), and personal norms, emerged from value theory (Schwartz, 1994; Stem and Dietz, 1994), the New Environmental Paradigm (NEP), and Norm-Activation Model (NAM).

Citation Formats
E. Şahin, “Household Energy Conservation from Elementary Science Teacher Candidates Perspective,” College Student Journal, vol. 50, no. 2, pp. 302–313, 2016, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: