Tuesday, November 14, 2023
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
A National Survey of UK Household Opinions, Behaviors, and Energy Use to Drive the Energy Transition
Session ID
A6 - Lightning: Segmentation and Targeted Messaging
Social Science Insights
Aven Satre-Meloy

Determining which attitudes and behaviors predict household energy consumption can help accelerate the low-carbon energy transition. Conventional approaches in this domain are limited, often relying on survey methods that produce data on individuals’ motivations and self-reported activities without pairing these with actual energy consumption records, which are particularly hard to collect for large, nationally representative samples. This challenge precludes the development of empirical evidence on which attitudes and behaviors influence patterns of energy consumption, thus limiting the extent to which these can inform energy interventions or conservation programs. This study demonstrates a novel methodology for estimating energy consumption in the absence of actual energy records by using a large, publicly available data set of energy consumption in the UK. We develop a predictive model using the Smart Energy Research Laboratory (SERL) data portal (with records from nearly 13,000 UK households) and then use this model to predict energy consumption (both electric and gas) for a nationally representative sample of 1,000 UK householders for which we separately collect over 200 variables relating to climate change attitudes and practices. Our approach uses a set of over 50 independent variables that are shared between the data sets, allowing us to train a model on the SERL data and use it to analyze the relationship between energy consumption and the opinions, motivations and daily practices of survey respondents. Results show that significant predictors of energy consumption include digital capabilities, political engagement (with climate change) and personal values. The resulting data set facilitates analyses that are generalizable to the UK population and reveal insights on the complex relationship between householder characteristics and energy demand.

Supporting Document 1