energy consumption: the importance of habits

by catarina clemente

“Most of the time what we do is what we do most of the time.  Sometimes we do something new”

– Townsend and Bever, 2001


«The concept of habits is essential in analyzing the determinants of domestic energy consumption as it sheds an insightful light on the puzzling question of why it keeps rising even though there is an evident increase of awareness and concern about energy-related environmental issues such as climate change. Indeed, if we subscribe to the idea that energy consuming behaviors — such as switching off the lights, turning off appliances, etc. — are often guided by habits and that deeply ingrained habits can become counter-intention, it then follows that people may often display “locked-in” practices in their daily energy consumption behavior. […] the features displayed by habits should be fully acknowledged and accounted for prior to designing measures aimed at reducing domestic energy consumption


– Kevin Maréchal, Not irrational but habitual: The importance of “behavioural lock-in” in energy consumption, 2010

[image from here]