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Reducing energy consumption in everyday life: a study of landscapes of energy consumption in rural households and communities in North Wales

Roberts, Erin Mared ORCID: 2016. Reducing energy consumption in everyday life: a study of landscapes of energy consumption in rural households and communities in North Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Despite governmental efforts to constrain residential energy consumption over recent decades, energy use within our homes accounts for a third of overall British energy use, and its share is steadily rising. Much of the existing academic and policy literature surrounding household energy consumption has revolved around developing more energy efficient technologies and buildings, as well as encouraging households to purchase those more efficient technologies. Conversely, less attention has been paid to the ways in which these technologies and homes are actually used, and how this influences a household’s energy consumption. Understanding how and why people use energy in the ways that they do, and how this varies according to spatial and temporal context, is critical to gaining an insight into the ways in which we might foster change and ultimately reduce domestic energy demand. In particular, this thesis sheds light on the dynamics of household energy demand in the rural sphere. This thesis draws on the accounts of 11 households in ‘deep’ rural Gwynedd that were recruited on the basis of their composition, ranging from single-person households, young families and emptying nests, in order to explore how consumption practices are patterned through the lifecourse. By employing practice theory, and combining it with concepts from geographical and life-course perspectives; the thesis produces rich, spatio-temporal and relational accounts of how household energy use has changed – or remained the same - through time. This necessarily meant engaging with things that matter to people – be that through valued relationships with places, significant others or with things. The ways in which we consume are necessarily connected to ideas about who to be and how to live, and as such, may be deeply connected to people’s identities. This has particular implications for policy interventions in that practices bound up with valued identities and ideals may prove resistant to change.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Funders: ESRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 31 October 2016
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 11:38

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