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Impact of time-use behaviour on residential energy consumption in the United Kingdom

02 October, 2022

Impact of time-use behaviour on residential energy consumption in the United Kingdom

Jose Luis Ramirez-Mendiola

Jacopo Torriti

Research paper   Flexibility

Máté János Lőrincz, Jose Luis Ramirez-Mendiola and Jacopo Torriti


In order to have the best possible chance of achieving ‘decent work’ and ‘climate action’ as laid forth in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, government and policy makers must pay close attention to current time-use patterns, as well as the way these might change in the near future. Here we contribute to the existing literature on time-use behaviour through a systematic exploration of the relationship between working patterns and energy consumption from the perspective of time-use. Our starting point is the premise that different work arrangements impact the timing of energy demand not only in workplaces, but also at home. Using the data from the 2014–2015 UK time-use survey, we were able to capture patterns of time-use behaviours and to assess their relationship with daily energy consumption. We propose a systematic time-use-based approach for estimating residential energy consumption with regards to activity timing, activity location, activity coordination, and appliance type. We use this method to discover patterns in residential activities and energy consumption, as well as the causal relationship between residential energy consumption and work patterns. In this study, we unpack the heterogeneity in the work–energy relationship, particularly when comparing full-time and part-time workers. Our results suggest that full-time employees have a higher potential to reduce their energy use compared to part-time employees. We also discover a non-linear change in total energy consumption for respondents with varying levels of work time. Energy consumption reductions associated with differences in work schedules are greatest during the first few hours of the workday, but then level off. Our findings suggests that time-use data can provide useful insights for evaluating and possibly designing energy and labour-market policies.

Publication details

Lőrincz, M, Ramirez-Mendiola, J.L. and Torriti, J. 2021. Impact of time-use behaviour on residential energy consumption in the United Kingdom. Energies, 14(19): 6286. doi: 10.3390/en14196286Opens in a new tabOpen access

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