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2015-10-15

A research group led by Keishiro Hara, Specially Appointed Associate Professor, Center for Environmental Innovation Design for Sustainability, Osaka University performed large-scale questionnaire surveys in Suita City, Osaka in 2009 and 2013: before and after the required electricity conservation practice following the Great East Japan earthquake in 2011.

By the time-series analysis of factors associated with household energy use (electricity and gas) and perception of savings, "household income," "actual amount of energy consumption," and "perception of energy savings" were identified as three closely related elements. In addition, when compared with 2009, there was a large change in consumption behavior and perception of energy savings among the people of the city in 2013.

These results provide new knowledge regarding the understanding of the mechanisms of energy consumption behavior, and suggest important information which will contribute to the design of effective policies aimed at the promotion of energy-conservation in the household.

This research group, in collaboration with Suita City, carried out a comparative investigation into energy consumption behavior and perception of energy saving in 2009 and 2013. Using the results of this survey, this group compared the factors which determine household energy use and perception of savings over the time period.

The results of this research provided essential knowledge on the determinant factors associated with the residential consumption and perception of savings of electricity and gas, while identifying "household income," "actual amount of energy consumption," and "perception of energy savings" as three closely related elements. Detailed analysis also revealed that households with high energy consumption and those with moderate consumption are becoming polarized within the city and that there was a growing gap between consumption behavior and the perception of conservation in 2013.

The results provide essential insight into the energy consumption patterns and perception of savings at the household level.

In future study, it is necessary to conduct thorough and objective validation on the reasons and specific mechanisms involved in such changes over the period examined, including the possible influences of the required electricity conservation practice following the Great East Japan earthquake in 2011, by carrying out continuing surveys not only in Suita city but also in other parts of Japan.

Abstract

In this study, we examined determinant factors associated with the residential consumption and perception of savings of electricity and city gas; this was based on data collected from a large-scale questionnaire sent to households in Suita, Osaka Prefecture, Japan, in two different years: 2009 and 2013. We applied an ordered logit model to determine the overall trend of the determinant factors, and then we performed a more detailed analysis in order to understand the reasons why the determinant factors changed between the two periods. Results from the ordered logit model reveal that electricity and gas consumption was primarily determined by such factors as household income, number of family members, the number of home appliances, and the perceptions of energy savings; there was not much difference between the two years, although in 2013, household income did not affect the perception of energy savings. Detailed analysis demonstrated that households with high energy consumption and those with moderate consumption are becoming polarized and that there was a growing gap between consumption behavior and the perception of conservation. The implications derived from the analyses provide an essential insight into the design of a municipal policy to induce lifestyle changes for an energy-saving society.

Fig. 1:  Percent of households in which the monthly electricity consumption is in the range indicated (x-axis), for households with incomes of more than 10 million yen

Fig. 2: Percent of households that claimed to be able to cut electricity consumption by more than 11% by income (x-axis).

Note: The y-axis value indicates the percent of total responding households in 2009 and 2013.

To learn more about this research, please view the full research report entitled "Determinant factors of residential consumption and perception of energy conservation: Time-series analysis by large-scale questionnaire in Suita, Japan" at this page of the Energy Policy website.


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