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Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4561-4577;

Increasing Energy-Saving Actions in Low Income Households to Achieve Sustainability

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), 1 Technology Ct, Pullenvale QLD 4069, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 August 2013 / Revised: 8 October 2013 / Accepted: 22 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability: Theory, Practice, Problems and Prospects)
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Residential energy consumption contributes up to one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Low-income households could benefit from energy efficiency behaviour change programs with anticipated “bridge sustainability” outcomes of environmental and financial benefits and increased well-being, but participation rates from this demographic are often low. The EnergySavers energy behaviour change program was designed for Australian low-income households. A variety of information materials were delivered in structured discussions over a five month period in 2012, with 139 low-income participants in two Australian cities in different climate zones. This article identifies which energy-saving actions low income households are already undertaking and, after completing the program, which actions were most commonly adopted. Participants reported that their participation in the program increased their energy-saving actions, increased their control over energy consumption, and that they disseminated their new knowledge through their social networks. Findings identified the importance of group discussion within demographic groups for information uptake and adoption of new energy behaviours. The housing situation, home population and language background were found to have a significant influence on the uptake of new behaviours. The results also suggest that the program would benefit from amendments to the actions and assessment prior to national roll-out to ensure that effective and long term bridge sustainability can be achieved. View Full-Text
Keywords: energy consumption; behaviour change; low-income; Australia; bridge sustainability energy consumption; behaviour change; low-income; Australia; bridge sustainability

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Hall, N.; Romanach, L.; Cook, S.; Meikle, S. Increasing Energy-Saving Actions in Low Income Households to Achieve Sustainability. Sustainability 2013, 5, 4561-4577.

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