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Energy Efficiency

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 353–364 | Cite as

Anchoring energy efficiency information in households’ everyday projects: peoples’ understanding of renewable heating systems

  • Charlotta IsakssonEmail author
  • Kajsa Ellegård
Original Article

Abstract

This article claims that the contents of energy conservation information policy instruments must be better adapted to household members’ everyday life experiences in order to capture their interest and transform information into action. The article elaborates on how to ground energy policy information in the everyday doings and strivings of households. Using two time-geographical concepts, i.e. activity and project, we investigate how people understand and define their energy-related activities as parts of overarching everyday projects with a focus on the constraints on energy conservation. The analysis is empirically based on interview data from a case study of households’ use of renewable heating technologies. The results illustrate how peoples’ heating activities are related to everyday projects such as reducing environmental impact, comfort for a convenient daily life, the household budget balance, learning about and/or maintaining home technologies and hobbies. One conclusion is that information instruments focusing solely on one or two such projects might hamper the translation from information to action and also limit the number of people interested in or able to access the information. Another conclusion is that the growing use of energy-efficient technologies might influence new habits and perceptions of the everyday use of energy, making common economic motives for saving energy less useful. Anchoring energy-related information and support in the everyday activities and projects of households would facilitate the translation process. If this is achieved, information could prove a useful instrument in the broader reorganization of societal institutions in a sustainable direction.

Keywords

Energy use information Household context Time-geography Translation Renewable heating systems 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research is part of the programme Sustaining Everyday Life–Information instruments for sustainable resource use in households based on daily activity pattern analysis, funded by the Swedish Research Council Formas.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social and Behavioural StudiesUniversity WestTrollhättanSweden
  2. 2.Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social ChangeLinköping UniversityLinköpingSweden

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