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Reviewing the complexity of energy behavior: Technologies, analytical traditions, and household energy consumption data in the United States

Adua, L. (2020). Reviewing the complexity of energy behavior: Technologies, analytical traditions, and household energy consumption data in the United States." Energy Research & Social Science, 59, 101289.  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214629619303147

Residential energy consumption is a major driver of climate change. This has given rise to widespread interest in energy efficiency technology as a remedy. This study examines the impacts of two types of energy efficiency technologies, interactive and fixed technologies, on residential energy consumption and householders’ energy-related behavior. The study simultaneously examines the relationship between householders’ energy-related behavior and residential energy consumption. It is grounded in two energy analytic traditions – the physical-technical-economic tradition, which privileges technical approaches to curtailing energy consumption, and the lifestyle and social-behavioral tradition, which is less optimistic about technical fixes. Analysis of three waves of the Residential Energy Consumption Survey reveals mixed relationships between energy efficiency technologies and residential energy consumption and behavior. Use of a programmable thermostat, which exemplifies interactive energy efficiency technologies, is found to drive more energy consumption. This variable, however, exerts no influence on householders’ home temperature setting behaviors. Insulation and use of energy-efficient windows, which exemplify fixed energy efficiency technologies, are negatively related to residential energy consumption. These variables also exert influence on householders’ home heating and cooling temperature setting behaviors. These findings suggest the impacts of efficiency technologies on energy consumption and the associated behaviors vary by technology type. As would be expected, householders’ energy-related behaviors do influence residential energy consumption, and generally in the expected direction.

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Last Updated: 10/14/19