The Determinants of Domestic Energy Consumption

Special Report: Energy Uses in Homes: a Bottom-up Perspective on Energy Transition
By Jean-Pierre Lévy, Nadine Roudil, Amélie Flamand, Fateh Belaïd

This article is situated within the context of the recommendations made by the Grenelle environment round table (Grenelle de l’Environnement) which highlighted the need to improve the thermal performance of housing in France by 2020. It aims to define the modalities through which the relations between citizens and energy are constructed and organised in housing in the Île-de-France region that is spatially contextualised (city centre, low rise suburban housing, social housing complexes, peri-urban sector, etc.) and architecturally differentiated (single family homes, multiple rented or co-owned central housing units, large linear and tower block complexes, etc.).The article is based on the hypothesis that the energy consumption of households in their homes reflects complex socio-spatial behaviour patterns.These behaviour patterns are examined from the point of view of the relationship to energy that inhabitants have at the scale of their homes, as well as by analysing their consumption practices within the urban context of the Ile-de-France region.The methodological approach is twofold :A socio-economic approach using quantitative methods based on the secondary analysis of national surveys (particularly the national housing survey), and an ad hoc survey that we carried out on 2000 Île-de-France households.A socio-technical approach comparing the subjective appreciation of energy consumption of households with their actual practices, based on semi-structured interviews with fifty-nine households.These approaches allow the construction of a typology of energy consumers which integrates residential practices and the technical performances of buildings on different scales.

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