Demographic determinants of household energy use in the United States

O'Neill, B.C. & Chen, B.S. (2002). Demographic determinants of household energy use in the United States. In: Population and Environment: Methods of Analysis. Eds. Prskawetz,, W. Lutz, A. & Sanderson, W.C., New York: Population Council.

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Projections of energy demand over the coming decades are critically important to understanding and anticipating future resource requirements and environmental impacts such as acid rain, local air pollution, and climate change (e.g., Nakicenovic et al. 2000). Household consumption of energy for space heating and cooling, lighting, appliances, transportation, and other energy services is a key driver of national energy demand. A number of demographic factors such as population size, age structure, and levels of urbanization have potentially important direct and indirect influences on household demand. For example, aging may have direct consequences since energy consumption tends to change over the lifespan (Yamasaki and Tominaga 1997); aging could also have indirect impacts through an associated decline in household size and consequently a loss of economies of scale in energy use at the household level. However, the treatment of population-related variables in energy projections has been essentially limited to considerations of changes in population size alone (O'Neill, MacKellar, and Lutz 2001; Gaffin 1998), even though significant changes in other factors, especially age structure, are anticipated in all regions of the world.

Improvements to the development of credible projections of energy demand through a better understanding of demographic determinants of energy use would be valuable for several reasons. First, they would clarify the outlook for the potential range of projected environmental consequences of energy-related emissions. Second, they would allow better estimates of the costs of reducing emissions, which are sensitive to baseline emissions projections. Cost estimates play a key role in the current debate over appropriate climate change policy. And third, understanding energy demand across different demographic groups can help assess the potential distributional effects of emissions-reduction efforts.

We first briefly review the principal approaches to the incorporation of demographic factors in current studies of energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions, as well as recent work on determinants of household energy use. We then present a case study of demographic influences on household energy consumption in the United States....

Item Type: Book Section
Research Programs: World Population (POP)
Bibliographic Reference: In: W. Lutz, A. Prskawetz, and W.C. Sanderson (eds); Population and Environment: Methods of Analysis; Population Council, New York, NY, USA pp.53-88 (2002)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:14
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:37

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