Me or My House? Investigating the Relative Importance of Household and Dwelling Characteristics for Household Energy Consumption
15 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2018
Date Written: June 24, 2018
In this study, we examine the drivers of household energy consumption, specifically investigating the relative importance of household socio-economic characteristics versus dwelling characteristics in explaining per capita gas consumption for space heating. The study draws upon a large random sample of households from the English Housing Survey (EHS) to understand the importance of, and interaction between, household and building characteristics. A multivariate OLS regression is used to identify the relative effects of various consumption drivers on gas used for space heating. The use of standardised coefficients allows for a discussion of the marginal contributions of each factor to energy consumption. The results show that variation in gas usage is largely determined by household socio-economic characteristics rather than physical dwelling characteristics. This includes the significant influence of household characteristics such as composition (or type), size, employment status, and income. The main contribution of the study is to underline the relative importance of household socio-economic characteristics over dwelling characteristics in explaining per capita energy consumption. The reported findings challenge the prevailing policy practice, which focuses purely on dwelling characteristics, disregarding the occupants’ status and energy consumption behaviour.
Keywords: energy consumption; households; dwellings; socio-economic characteristics
JEL Classification: R31; R28; D1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation