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Energy justice? A spatial analysis of variations in household direct energy consumption in the UK

Chatterton, Tim; Barnes, Jo; Yeboah, Godwin; Anable, Jillian

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Tim Chatterton

Godwin Yeboah

Jillian Anable


Targets for reductions in carbon emissions and energy use are usually framed in terms of national and international percentage reductions. However, the amount of energy used by households varies greatly, with some households using considerably more than others and therefore potentially being able to make a bigger contribution towards societal reductions. Using recently released datasets from the UK Government, we present exploratory analyses of patterns of direct household energy usage from domestic gas and electricity consumption and from private motor vehicles. These analyses of the data reveal that those households with the highest domestic energy consumption may be also likely to be those that use the most energy from their motor vehicles. Whilst much work has been done around fuel poverty, our findings suggest that there may be an opposite issue around ‘energy decadence’, where the actions of certain households or groups within society are placing much greater strain on energy networks and environmental systems than they need. These people may also be the ones most likely to be able to afford energy efficiency measures to reduce their impacts and should therefore be a high priority in the targeting of policy interventions.
However, household energy resource isn’t necessarily a simple ‘good’ that ought to be equally distributed. Different housing stock, accessibility of services and a wide range of other factors all lead to different energy requirements in order to attain acceptable quality of life. Using the spatial basis of the datasets, we link energy use data with a range of other data in order to try to differentiate between areas of profligate energy use and those of high energy need. The near universal coverage of these government datasets allows an entirely new geography of energy to be mapped out, opening up new possibilities for targeting interventions for energy reduction at those who can make the greatest savings, whilst ensuring that those who can’t are protected from adverse effects of energy policies.

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Conference Name eceee 2015 Summer Study on energy efficiency
Start Date Jun 1, 2015
End Date Jun 6, 2015
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2015
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 8, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2016
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords energy, justice, car use, car ownership, domestic energy
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : eceee 2015 Summer Study on energy efficiency
Contract Date Mar 8, 2016


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