Completed research project: Understanding household energy consumption

The picture shows a father and his son filling a washing machine.

For energy consumption behaviour to change, different elements must be accounted for together – this is a finding of the completed NRP 71 project.

Much of everyday life consists of routinised and habitual activities that use energy, such as cleaning homes, washing clothes and preparing meals, or entertainment and recreational activities. Underlying these practices are socially constructed norms that often remain implicit and are tacitly accepted. By understanding the social norms linked to these practices, opportunities for reducing or improving electricity consumption could be identified.

The completed NRP 71 project “Understanding household energy consumption” headed by Prof. Suren Erkman from the Faculty of Geosciences and Environment at the University of Lausanne comes to the conclusion that for energy-saving practices to change in Romandy households, different elements must be accounted for together, including social norms, rules/regulations and rules prescriptions; infrastructures, appliances, products and material arrangements; as well as competencies, beliefs and emotions. Social and participative learning offers an opportunity for shifting practices in order to reduce and/or improve energy usage.