The public-private divide in household behavior: How far into home can energy guidance reach?
Environmental problems in the energy system often originate from everyday activities and choices. Everyday activities in the home are part of the private sphere that can be contested in relation to energy policies. This article discusses the public-private divide in energy policies and how Swedish municipal energy consultants understand the divide. By analyzing the actions of energy consultants and their efforts to influence households, as well as how households perceive this guidance, I will discuss the public-private discourse in relation to energy policy and how this discourse can be a restriction for the energy consultants to reach their full potential. The consultants found it problematic to discuss behavioral issues because they did not know how to relate to people's everyday life activities without intruding on private and personal matters. For the households tailored information and feedback was not perceived as the consultant trespassing in the private sphere. Instead, the householders highlight the possibilities of such mapping. Lessoned learned from Sweden is that state subsidies to local energy consultants is a good way to reach households, but that they need to develop their methods and use more tailored information.
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