Targets for reductions in carbon emissions and energy use are often framed solely in terms of percentage reductions. However, the amount of energy used by households varies greatly, with some using considerably more than others and, therefore, potentially being able to make a bigger contribution towards overall reductions. Using two recently released UK datasets based on combined readings from over 70 million domestic energy meters and vehicle odometers, we present exploratory analyses of patterns of direct household energy usage. Whilst much energy justice work has previously focussed on energy vulnerability, mainly in low consumers, our findings suggest that a minority of areas appear to be placing much greater strain on energy networks and environmental systems than they need. Households in these areas are not only the most likely to be able to afford energy efficiency measures to reduce their impacts, but are also found to have other capabilities that would allow them to take action to reduce consumption (such as higher levels of income, education and particular configurations of housing type and tenure). We argue that these areas should therefore be a higher priority in the targeting of policy interventions.
Chatterton, T., Anable, J., Barnes, J., & Yeboah, G. (2016). Mapping household direct energy consumption in the United Kingdom to provide a new perspective on energy justice. Energy Research and Social Science, 18, 71-87. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2016.04.013