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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Virtual community on sustainability and consumption Accomplishments


Here you can read about collaborative research that members of the VC are involved in.

IMPROSUME - The Impact of Prosumers in a Smart Grid based Energy Market

“Prosumer” is an emerging concept in the power market that applies to consumers of energy that can also be producers. In a SmartGrid, a prosumer can be a new and active participant in balancing the electricity system. The SmartGrid creates the basis for intelligent integration of user-actions in securing a continuing high supply security while integrating more fluctuating renewable energy into the electricity supply system. An important requirement is acceptance and active adoption of the new possibility by the prosumer. This project focuses on prosumers and their role and influence on the future energy market, and the prosumers’ impact on established structures will be highlighted.

This is a joint research project between partners from Aarhus University (Denmark), NCE Halden (Norway), University of St. Gallen (Switzerland) and others. Read more here.

Sustainable Consumption without traditional Ownership via Internet?

Traditional consumption in affluent societies relies on product ownership: Consumers buy new products, use and finally dispose them. More than ten years ago, different (especially European) researchers started to think about more sustainable alternatives which focus less on individual ownership. Under terms like “sustainable service-systems” or “eco-efficient services” alternative rental, sharing, and service schemes (like tool rental, car-sharing, or washing services) have been discussed.

Despite its widespread academic attention, their diffusion is still limited in comparison with newly bought and owned goods. Recently, the discussion gained a new momentum due to internet websites which allow consumers to share products (e.g., offer private services (e.g. or swap or buy-and-sell used goods (e.g. via ebay or Since the new offers often allow consumer-to-consumer transactions, the phenomenon has been labelled “collaborative consumption” (Botsman/Rogers 2010).

Despite growing public interest, academic research on these activities is still scarce. In this project, it is investigated how concepts, developed to explain consumer acceptance of consumption without ownership in the offline-world, can be used to understand the diffusion of collaborative consumption via Internet. In addition, the conditions which make collaborative consumption a contribution to sustainability – or not – are investigated.

This is a new research project being initiated at the Technical University of Berlin (Germany) with partners from Aarhus University (Denmark), and others.

Tailoring Intervention Instruments to Promote Emission Reduction in Norway

For the development of a policy strategy that aims at sustainable consumption in Norway it is crucial to identify and understand the most relevant behaviours and identify starting points for effective intervention strategies.

The suggested project takes a new perspective on this issue by a three step multidisciplinary research approach: In a first step, the impact (CO2-emissions) of a variety of possible relevant behaviours is identified in a collaborative effort of psychology and environmental science. In a second step, selected behaviours are analysed empirically on the basis of an appropriate psychological model of behaviour change. We will in a third step develop suggestions for a national social marketing campaign that is tailored to the specific needs of the Norwegian population.

The project is residing at the Norwegian University of Technology and Science Trondheim, Norway (Christian Klöckner, Paul Stern and Ellen Matthies, now University of Magdeburg, Germany) and was set up in collaboration with Edgar Hertwich (NTNU, Norway), Sebastian Bamberg (University of Applied Science, Bielefeld, Germany) and Linda Steg. Contact person: Sunita Prugsmatz, NTNU. Read more here.

Last modified:17 April 2020 2.17 p.m.