Residential energy interventions aim to structurally influence the way people behave in order to achieve a more sustainable behavior. However, the effectiveness of concrete residential energy interventions in specific circumstances varies widely: depending on the context interventions are more or less successful. This paper studies the effect of the context on the effectiveness of concrete residential energy interventions. We do this by means of a large meta analysis of literature. Our review consists of two main parts. First, we give an overview and categorization of all major types of residential energy interventions. Second, we use this categorization to study the effectiveness of different types of interventions in specific contexts: physical (environmental); socioeconomic; cultural; and political and governmental contexts. In addition, we propose to extend well known design methodologies for successful energy interventions by making the role the context plays in these explicit. Our ultimate goal is to provide both practitioners and researchers with a framework that helps with the design of successful energy interventions, hopefully leading to a more sustainable future.