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20∶60∶20 - Differences in Energy Behaviour and Conservation between and within Households with Electricity Monitors

Murtagh, N, Gatersleben, B and Uzzell, D (2014) 20∶60∶20 - Differences in Energy Behaviour and Conservation between and within Households with Electricity Monitors PLoS One, 9 (3).

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Abstract

The introduction of electricity monitors (in-home displays; IHDs), which show accurate and up-to-the-minute energy usage, is expected to lead to reduction in consumption. Studies of feedback on domestic electricity use have generally supported this view. However, such studies also demonstrate wide variation between households. Examining the heterogeneity of responses is essential for understanding the actual and potential effectiveness of IHDs and in order to target interventions effectively. To explore differences between households’ responses to IHDs, we conducted a qualitative study with 21 households who had an IHD for more than six months. Of the 21, only four households continued to refer to the IHD and the findings suggest that attempts to reduce energy consumption were situated in wider social and physical contexts. Further, the participants demonstrated energy saving behaviour before and outside of IHD usage. The patterns of energy behaviours and attempts at electricity conservation could best be understood by categorising the households into three types: the Monitor Enthusiasts (20%), the Aspiring Energy Savers (60%) and the Energy Non-Engaged (20%). The factors of importance in energy behaviour differed between the categories. Financial savings contributed to efforts to reduce energy use but only up to boundaries which varied considerably between households. Social practices and social relationships appeared to constrain what actions households were prepared to undertake, illuminating aspects of inter-household variation. Within the household, all energy users were not equal and we found that women were particularly influential on energy use through their primary responsibility for domestic labour on behalf of the household. The implications of the findings for environmental campaigning are discussed. The research was funded by the Digital Economy Programme of the Research Councils UK, a cross-council initiative led by EPSRC (www.epsrc.ac.uk) and contributed to by AHRC, ESRC and MRC, under the REDUCE project grant (no EP/I000232/1). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Murtagh, NUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Gatersleben, BUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Uzzell, DUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : 18 March 2014
Identification Number : 10.1371/journal.pone.0092019
Related URLs :
Additional Information : Copyright 2014 Murtagh et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 15 Apr 2014 10:17
Last Modified : 13 Sep 2014 01:34
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/805346

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