Gesche Huebner, Clare Hamner, Ellen Webborn, Martin Pullinger, Eoghan Mckenna, Jessica Few, Simon Elam and Tadj Oreszczyn
The winter of 2022/23 has seen large increases in energy prices and the cost of living in many countries around the world, including Great Britain. Here, we report the results of two surveys, combining cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis, in a sample of about 5,400 British households. One survey was conducted early in 2023, the other when participants had signed up to an ongoing research study in that past five years. Thermostat settings were about 1°C lower during the cost-of-living crisis than before, and householders were more likely to turn the heating off when the home was unoccupied. The effort to save increased compared to pre-cost-of-living-crisis levels and using the in-home display more this winter than before correlated with greater effort to save energy, supporting the notion that displaying energy data can be a useful tool for energy reductions. Finding it difficult to keep comfortable warm in the home and struggling with meeting heating costs were linked to lower wellbeing, strengthening links between cold, damp, and hard-to-heat homes and negative mental health outcomes. About 40% of respondents lowered the flow temperature of the boiler which might be evidence that very tailored information campaigns can be effective in changing behaviour.
Huebner, GM., Hamner, C., Webborn, E., Pullinger, M., Mckenna, E., Few, J., Elam, S. and Oreszczyn, T. 2023. Self-reported energy use behaviour changed significantly during the cost-of-living crisis in winter 2022/23: Insights from cross-sectional and longitudinal surveys in Great Britain. SocArXiv Papers. doi: 10.31235/osf.io/984yhOpens in a new tabOpen access
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