Determinants of Long-Term Water and Energy Conservation Behavior: An Integrated Review

Mathijs Ambaum*, Rense Corten, Mattijs Lambooij, Monique van der Aa, Frenk van Harreveld, Vincent Buskens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Over the last decades, drinking water and energy use have increased exponentially. To preserve ecosystems in the long term, a change in behavior is necessary on all levels of society including on the household level. This paper presents an integrated review of the determinants of long-term drinking water and energy conservation behavior of households. We identified forty-nine relevant studies discussing long-term conservation behavior in the context of drinking water and energy use. Long-term conservation behavior was measured as either persistent behavior, maintaining behavioral change, or intentions to maintain behavior, each with specific determinants. We found four key factors for long-term conservation behavior: consumption feedback, household characteristics, effort, and motives for conservation behavior. For future studies, we suggest follow-up questionnaires or interviews to measure the persistence of behavior and differentiate between curtailment and efficiency behavior. Worthwhile avenues for future research on long-term conservation behavior are household-tailored feedback mechanisms and the interaction between contextual factors and effort-based choices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4399
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • conservation behavior
  • energy
  • long-term behavior
  • review
  • water


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