Energy consumption is on a constant rise with domestic use contributing substantially to the overall consumption. The population growth along with ever increasing comfort levels and daily appliance usage are driving the domestic electricity demand to higher levels. Targeting domestic consumption is thus of great importance if global consumption is to be lowered. This involves understanding and changing consumers’ behaviour, awareness and increasing their knowledge on the subject of energy use.
In this thesis various factors determining household energy consumption such as dwelling size, income and number of occupants have been found alongside consumer behaviour to influence consumption the most.
Energy awareness, related interest and knowledge have also been considered when trying to explain differences in household consumption patterns.
Despite all possible characteristics and factors, the largest differences in energy consumption are found between individual households.
Providing feedback and information to households has been proven effective when addressing the issue of reducing domestic energy use. In this thesis, the effectiveness of three of the most popular ways of currently delivering feedback and information on energy consumption (displays, websites and bills) have been investigated by analyzing consumption patterns before and after their implementation. Consumers living in apartments that followed their consumption through the web based feedback were the ones that achieved the greatest electricity reductions (17,5%) when compared to the years before the website.
In order to provide effective feedback, with long lasting results that would keep consumers interested, several parameters have been proposed to be included when developing feedback and information. The type of dwelling (house or apartment), the age of the occupants, their level of education, income and their energy awareness and interest are the main determinants of feedback preferences.
The findings presented in this thesis contribute to a better understanding of households’ energy consumption patterns closely related to their characteristics, behaviour, interest and awareness, and also provide ways of improving the development of consumption feedback and information.
Mälardalen University , 2012.