‘Sticky’ energy practices: The impact of childhood and early adulthood experience on later energy consumption practices

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This article found that personal history, formed by the accumulated experience of practitioners, affected the present level of energy consumption for space heating and hot water. Moreover, the paper demonstrates how quantitative analyses may provide new insights into studies of energy consumption practices.

By following a cohort in two periods of their life; childhood (ages 10–15 in 1981) and early adulthood (ages 29–34 in 2000), I investigated how embodied experience affects how the cohorts consume energy today (2010–2015). Personal history is measured by household characteristics (household income and education level of the household), and house characteristics (house construction year and main heating source).

The results indicated that growing up in a household with more economic means correlated with higher energy consumption today regardless of the present economic situation. Moreover, the results indicated that having lived in recently built houses or houses with district heating, compared with for example a stove or a heater, leads to a tendency to consume more energy today.

The article concludes by arguing that there is a need to turn attention towards social differences in the competences of individual practitioners, which will result in practices differently performed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnergy Research & Social Science
Issue numberDecember 2018
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • Energy consumption
  • Habits
  • Practical understandings
  • Social practices
  • Sustainable consumption

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