GAINING INSIGHTS INTO NEW ZEALAND HOUSEHOLDS’ ELECTRICITY CONSUMPTION ACTIVITIES THROGUH TIME-USE DIARIES
Studies of energy behaviour began in the 70s after the oil shocks, and the focus of most studies then and since has been in developing models of generalised behaviour. However it is evident that there is great variability in household energy consumption, which is not explained by the physical features of house and appliances, and nor by generalised assumptions about everyday behaviours. The lack of detailed knowledge of the heterogeneity of energy behaviours across and within households makes it difficult to develop effective energy saving strategies, specifically strategies that associate human habits in everyday life with the physical performance of housing. Time-Use diaries are one way of gaining insights into this topic, and are starting to be used internationally. This paper reports on the first energy-related Time-Use diary study developed and conducted in New Zealand. Its design was inspired by the Time-Geography approach pioneered by Torsten Hägerstrand. He aimed to capture reliable data about what activities people actually do within the temporal and spatial dimension of their daily lives. Building on this approach, this study examines the activities of individuals within their households to understand how energy-electricity is used by New Zealand householders. It presents some preliminary results from time-use diaries completed by all members of 22 households over a period of 7 consecutive days. Data to be reported includes the energy-related activities performed, the use of appliances, and changes in temperature settings, and how these vary according to time, age, sex; number of children and day of the week.
Diana Giraldo Ocampo is a Masters student at the Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE) with a background in Statistics, Ecology and Public Health. She believes that through interdisciplinary and applied research, human behaviour and its implications on the natural environment can be assessed and potentially mitigated. Her Masters research focuses on the development and application of a valid and reliable Time Use Energy Diary to understand occupants’ practices (routines and habits), where householders record their energy consumption behaviour and appliance use.