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Visualizing energy consumption activities as a tool for making everyday life more sustainable


  • Ellegård, Kajsa
  • Palm, Jenny


The need to analyze and understand energy consumption in relation to households' activity patterns is vital for developing policy means that contribute to an energy efficient life and what people would deem as a "good" everyday life. To do this we need to learn more about how energy use is a part of everyday life; this article contributes to that objective. We use the time-geographic diary approach together with interviews to analyze everyday life as a totality. From household members' time diaries, we can analyze and learn about when, where, and what energy-related activities occur in a household context and by whom (and in what social context) they are performed. We discuss the importance of relating information and feedback to households' everyday activities, in order to make it relevant to households. Through our method we discover and visualize activity patterns in a household during a given period. The method is also useful to households as a reflective tool when discussing families' daily lives in relation to energy consumption. The method gives direct feedback to households and the information is relevant since it emanates from their own reported activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellegård, Kajsa & Palm, Jenny, 2011. "Visualizing energy consumption activities as a tool for making everyday life more sustainable," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 88(5), pages 1920-1926, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:88:y:2011:i:5:p:1920-1926

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nassen, Jonas & Holmberg, John, 2005. "Energy efficiency--a forgotten goal in the Swedish building sector?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1037-1051, May.
    2. Gyberg, Per & Palm, Jenny, 2009. "Influencing households' energy behaviour--how is this done and on what premises?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(7), pages 2807-2813, July.
    3. Palm, Jenny & Thollander, Patrik, 2010. "An interdisciplinary perspective on industrial energy efficiency," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 87(10), pages 3255-3261, October.
    4. Katerina Vrotsou & Kajsa Ellegård & Matthew Cooper, 2009. "Exploring time diaries using semi-automated activity pattern extraction," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 6(1), pages 1-25, September.
    5. Kajsa Ellegård & Matthew Cooper, 2004. "Complexity in daily life – a 3D-visualization showing activity patterns in their contexts," electronic International Journal of Time Use Research, Research Institute on Professions (Forschungsinstitut Freie Berufe (FFB)) and The International Association for Time Use Research (IATUR), vol. 1(1), pages 37-59, August.
    6. Palm, Jenny, 2010. "The public-private divide in household behavior: How far into home can energy guidance reach?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2858-2864, June.
    7. Steg, Linda, 2008. "Promoting household energy conservation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(12), pages 4449-4453, December.
    8. Benders, Rene M.J. & Kok, Rixt & Moll, Henri C. & Wiersma, Gerwin & Noorman, Klaas Jan, 2006. "New approaches for household energy conservation--In search of personal household energy budgets and energy reduction options," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 3612-3622, December.
    9. Ek, Kristina & Söderholm, Patrik, 2010. "The devil is in the details: Household electricity saving behavior and the role of information," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1578-1587, March.
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