Behavioural Insights for Policy series: Primary research  

Year: 2023 

Topic: Everyday energy behaviours 

Methodology: Survey  

Author: SEAI Behavioural Economics Unit  



Becoming more efficient with our use of energy is essential for several reasons: to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; to insulate ourselves from high energy prices; and to reduce the chance of outages or fuel shortages, among others. To transform the way that energy is used, it is essential to first understand people’s current energy behaviours and the factors (structural, sociodemographic, psychological) that underlie them. 

In December 2022, SEAI’s Behavioural Economics Unit launched the Behavioural Energy and Travel Tracker (BETT), a monthly online survey that gathers thorough, accurate and granular data about the everyday energy behaviours of people in Ireland. This report is about the first five waves of BETT (December 2022 to April 2023), roughly corresponding to the winter or heating season.  

Throughout the 2022/2023 heating season, people generally reported a high understanding of how to save energy and said they were making a substantial effort to use energy efficiently, but there is room for improvement across domains. For example, over one in five participants travelled by car for a short journey in any given day. Up to 40% of people heated empty rooms or an unoccupied home, and a quarter of thermostat owners had theirs set to 21°C or higher. About one in five participants used a tumble dryer on a given day. The types of people most likely to use energy inefficiently were not consistently the same across different types of activities. A number of recommendations for policy and communications are made based on the findings. 

Download the report