Energy Efficiency

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 19–31 | Cite as

Lifestyle and energy consumption: a comparison of four collective communities in transition

  • Jeremy Cohen
  • David PearlmutterEmail author
  • Moshe Schwartz
Original Research


This study applies sociological analysis to energy consumption trends in four small kibbutzim in southern Israel, utilizing the history of these communities as a “natural experiment” for observing how these trends are affected by the transition from collective to private community rules and norms. After normalizing for community size, the intensity of electrical energy consumption was found to decrease in the presence of changes that either (a) increase the efficiency of indoor space use or (b) encourage the active management of energy consumption. The findings indicate that both components must be present to achieve a sustained reduction in community energy intensity and that such an outcome is affected by, but not dependent on, the community’s level of privatization. It is proposed that the unique circumstances of the transitional kibbutz can shed light on behavioral issues which are central to the efficiency of energy consumption in society at large.


Energy consumption Kibbutz Lifestyle 



The authors acknowledge the investment of time and energy made by the members of Yahel, Lotan, Ketura, and Grofit, whose input and experience was invaluable, and the cooperation of the Israel Electric Corporation. The study was supported by a grant from the Bona Terra Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeremy Cohen
    • 1
  • David Pearlmutter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Moshe Schwartz
    • 1
  1. 1.J. Blaustein Institutes for Desert ResearchBen Gurion University of the NegevSede-Boqer CampusIsrael

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