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Concept Paper

Identifying Consumer Lifestyles through Their Energy Impacts: Transforming Social Science Data into Policy-Relevant Group-Level Knowledge

1
Department of Sociology, University of Graz (until 05/2019: Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH), Universitätsstraße 15/G4, 8010 Graz, Austria
2
Centre for Climate, Energy and Society, Joanneum Research Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Leonhardstraße 59, 8010 Graz, Austria
3
Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Edvard Bulls veg 1, 7491 Trondheim, Norway
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 6162; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216162
Received: 28 September 2019 / Revised: 19 October 2019 / Accepted: 30 October 2019 / Published: 4 November 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Impact Assessment and Sustainable Development)
The analytical framework presented herein is based on the identification of social groups with distinct patterns in their energy-relevant behaviour. This was achieved by clustering individuals according to their primary energy demands in six main areas of life. Due to the close relationship between energy-relevant behaviour and associated impacts, the suggested approach is considered better suited for the identification of groups with actual differences in their climate and energy-related behaviour than conventional approaches that cluster individuals based on their psychological or sociodemographic characteristics. Moreover, it is assumed that this focus on energy-relevant behaviour leads to a higher measuring equivalence in a country comparison or in a longitudinal setting. From an analytical point of view, the most significant benefit of the presented method over conventional lifestyle typologies is that all psychological, cultural and sociodemographic factors can be used as explanatory variables without resulting in circular reasoning. In terms of required data, the approach was designed around what could be collected by conventional survey methods. Variables such as energy use and emissions were calculated by the means of life cycle assessment (LCA) based on self-reported behaviour and equipment use. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy; lifestyle; behavior; lifecycle assessment; climate energy; lifestyle; behavior; lifecycle assessment; climate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Schwarzinger, S.; Bird, D.N.; Skjølsvold, T.M. Identifying Consumer Lifestyles through Their Energy Impacts: Transforming Social Science Data into Policy-Relevant Group-Level Knowledge. Sustainability 2019, 11, 6162. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216162

AMA Style

Schwarzinger S, Bird DN, Skjølsvold TM. Identifying Consumer Lifestyles through Their Energy Impacts: Transforming Social Science Data into Policy-Relevant Group-Level Knowledge. Sustainability. 2019; 11(21):6162. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216162

Chicago/Turabian Style

Schwarzinger, Stephan; Bird, David N.; Skjølsvold, Tomas M. 2019. "Identifying Consumer Lifestyles through Their Energy Impacts: Transforming Social Science Data into Policy-Relevant Group-Level Knowledge" Sustainability 11, no. 21: 6162. https://doi.org/10.3390/su11216162

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