Households’ use of information and communication technologies – a future challenge for energy savings?

Jesper Ole Jensen, Kirsten Gram-Hanssen, Inge Røpke, Toke Haunstrup Christensen

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    Abstract

    Increasing consumption of electricity due to a growing number of information and communication technology (ICT) appliances in households is a major challenge to reducing energy consumption. Several studies have predicted escalating ICT-related energy consumption, but relatively little has been said and done about possible initiatives to curb this increase. This paper presents results of a research project focusing on how dynamics of consumption influence household energy consumption on ICT. Results of the project include scenarios on how electricity consumption on ICT is expected to grow, suggesting that in a few years on average ICT will make up half of household electricity consumption. Recent initiatives from various actors to prevent this development are presented and discussed, and difficulties in regulating this area, as compared to other parts of household electricity consumption are highlighted. Through presentation and discussion of qualitative interviews with families having extensive ICT use in their everyday lives, the interviews illustrate how users domesticate and use technologies in many different ways. The interviews reveal a variety of practices and dynamics in different aspects of everyday life, including sport, shopping, entertainment and different hobbies. The growing electricity consumption related to ICT is thus as dependent on the consumers’ use and domestication of the technologies as on the energy efficiency of the appliances. By analysing the interviews with the use of theories of domestication of technologies, it is argued that aspects such as consumers' creativity in technology use and their non-adaption are relevant aspects to include in policy and regulation discussions on how to limit the escalating electricity consumption from household ICT use.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe ECEEE Summer Study 2009
    Number of pages14
    Place of PublicationIle Saint-Denis
    PublisherECEEE
    Publication date2009
    ISBN (Print)978-91-633-4454-1
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventThe ECEEE Summer Study 2009 - Cote d'Azur, France
    Duration: 1 Jan 2009 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceThe ECEEE Summer Study 2009
    CityCote d'Azur, France
    Period01/01/2009 → …

    Keywords

    • ICT
    • Everyday life
    • Electricity consumption
    • Consumption dynamics
    • Domestication

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