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Erratum published on 21 January 2016, see Energies 2016, 9(1), 63.

Open AccessArticle
Energies 2015, 8(8), 7618-7637; doi:10.3390/en8087618

Who Is Behaving? Consequences for Energy Policy of Concept Confusion

Department of Thematic Studies, Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Campus Valla, SE-58183 Linköping, Sweden
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andy Wright
Received: 17 June 2015 / Revised: 17 July 2015 / Accepted: 20 July 2015 / Published: 27 July 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives on Energy and Sustainable Development)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1285 KB, uploaded 28 January 2016]   |  


Policies to reduce household energy use usually target the individual customer. This is probably one explanation to the limited effect of many information policies, because two concepts with different meanings are confused: individual and household. In most contexts, an individual stands for what s/he does, but in the policy context, an individual is taken to represent the entire household. This is not problematic for a single-person household, but, in a multi-person household, activities performed by different household members influence the whole household’s energy use. This paper illuminates problems arising from confusing the concepts of household and individual when developing policies to reduce household energy use. Examples relate to indoor space heating and energy-intensive home-based activities. The results indicate that it is analytically simple to consider individuals at home, as well as their activities using electrical appliances contributing to heating, but much more complicated to take the whole household into consideration. Our model provides a basis for better-targeted information actions to reduce energy use. Also, empirically based models capturing variations between households with different activity patterns are important for developing policies resulting in reduced energy use for space heating in multi-person households. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy use; household; individual; consumer; indoor space heating; policy; energy conservation; time diaries; activities; information energy use; household; individual; consumer; indoor space heating; policy; energy conservation; time diaries; activities; information

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ellegård, K.; Palm, J. Who Is Behaving? Consequences for Energy Policy of Concept Confusion. Energies 2015, 8, 7618-7637.

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