Environmental behaviours and risk perception of domestic consumers: Refrigeration equipment case study

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Abstract

European citizens believe they can play a role in protecting the environment through changes in how they buy, consume, and separate waste, but they also believe they are not doing enough. Household refrigerating appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning systems (at home or in the car), impact severely global warming due to their high energy consumption and the high global warming potential of the most used refrigeration gases. Despite the unequivocal importance of consumers' actions, their behaviours during equipment purchase, use, maintenance, and disposal at the end-of-life have been largely ignored in policy regulatory strategies. In this work, the gap between consumers’ concerns and their behaviours was addressed by assessing their actions specifically related to the refrigeration gases of their domestic refrigeration equipment (refrigerators and air conditioning systems), at every stage of the equipment life cycle. A questionnaire was conducted with a sample of 648 Portuguese, Spanish and French consumers, aiming at diagnosing the importance and risk attributed to refrigeration gases, and their perception of the actions they can take to reduce this risk. The results revealed that, despite attributing great importance to climate change and considering refrigeration gases a high danger to the environment, most consumers did not consider these gases in their decision when purchasing refrigeration equipment. However, in general, consumers have correct behaviours when there is an equipment malfunction, although they have little information relative to the authorized technicians for installation or maintenance of equipment. The results of this work allowed us to identify the topics that need to be reinforced in future awareness campaigns and to provide some recommendations to promote appropriate consumer behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100024
Number of pages8
JournalCleaner Production Letters
Volume3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Environmental behaviours
  • Fluorinated gases
  • Refrigeration
  • Risk perception
  • Sustainability assessment

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