Gender, age, and educational differences in the importance of homely comfort in Denmark

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7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understanding the conventions of homely comfort is important to accommodate occupants’ expectations and needs in relation to a comfortable indoor environment (temperature, daylight, noise, and indoor air quality) in a society that needs to make serious reductions in energy consumption in accordance with the global climate agenda. Previous socio-technical research has focused on how conventions and expectations of thermal comfort are constructed over time. However, little is known about how such conventions and expectations vary across social groups. This paper uses survey data to explore social differences in conventions and the expectations of homely comfort. It does so by examining differences in how important occupants find various aspects of homely comfort that relate to the indoor environment (temperature, daylight, noise, and fresh air). The paper presents three main findings. First, it shows how the importance of different aspects of homely comfort relate to each other and indicates an underlying factor of importance of homely comfort. Second, the results indicate that women and older occupants tend to consider homely comfort to be more important than others do, whereas occupants with a high school or bachelor's degree tend to consider homely comfort to be less important. This suggests that expectations of residential comfort vary according to social group differences. Third, the results indicate that how important occupants find homely comfort is associated with higher levels of energy used for space heating. This suggests that everyday practices related to home heating are organised according to differences in how important occupants consider different aspects of homely comfort. Finally, how a better understanding of the social structures of evaluating comfort can be incorporated into policy for a sustainable future is discussed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Volume54
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
ISSN2214-6296
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019

Keywords

  • Comfort expectations
  • Homely comfort
  • Indoor environmental comfort
  • Residential energy consumption

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