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What do we know about influencing household energy use?

What do we know about influencing household energy use?

Start: Mar 09, 2015 10:30 AM
End: Mar 10, 2015 04:00 PM

Location: Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS), University of Surrey, Guildford, UK,

Average household energy (gas and electricity) bill in 2014 and 2020 (Department of Energy and Climate Change)

There is evidence on the barriers to energy reduction in homes from behaviour
change projects and programmes. These issues have been considered from
theoretical, practical and experimental perspectives. Yet there remain significant
gaps in our understanding of how people use energy and how habitual behaviours
around energy use can be influenced. Challenges to drawing firm evidence-based
conclusions for policy, industry and other uses include:

• Individuals and households are not rational / isolated agents and energy
decisions may not be conscious or calculated;
• Traditional (and readily measurable) variables such as attitudes and sociodemographic
categories may be poor predictors for energy use;
• Robust quantitative and experimental data on the effectiveness of
behaviour change programmes in reducing energy use (particularly where
this is objectively measured) is scarce;
• Energy use is shaped by socio-technical systems of provision and a range
of everyday practices, in which energy use may be incidental;
• Existing approaches may not go with the grain of wider consumer
behaviours to a sufficient extent to encourage behaviour change;
• A growing range of actors are now involved in governing energy use
(including community groups, churches and businesses) in different ways.

In this workshop, we aim to obtain a snapshot of the state of knowledge on these
issues, with an emphasis of bringing together evidence about what works and what
does not.

The workshop is supported by WholeSEM and sponsored by the Department of
Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

Workshop Programme