Energy Efficiency in Residences—Challenges for Women and Men in the North

Citation:

 Carlsson-Kanyama, Annika, and Anna-Lisa Lindén. 2007. “Energy Efficiency in Residences—Challenges for Women and Men in the North.” Energy Policy 35 (4): 2163–72.

Authors: Annika Carlsson-Kanyama, Anna-Lisa Lindén

Abstract:

In a Northern country such as Sweden, energy use in the home may be reduced by 20% through changes in behaviour. However, little is known about how households respond to policy instruments encouraging such change or to what degree this in turn may affect the workload of women and men in such communities. The current study presents findings from interviews with 30 households in Sweden that participated in intervention measures aimed at reducing energy use in the home and explores how the sexes divided the new household chores and their opinions regarding these. The empirical findings are analysed against a theoretical framework of behavioural change. Results from the interviews indicate that lower indoor temperature and fewer hot baths had a greater impact on women than on men. When electricity charges varied, the workload of women increased as they washed clothes and dishes at night and at weekends when electricity was cheaper. Women also refrained from using clothes’ driers resulting in more time spent completing this chore. Based on these results we argue that a gender perspective in future intervention programmes in Northern communities may be useful as residential energy conservation in its present form affects the timing and types of household chores with resulting increased workload for women. How energy policy should change requires further analysis.

Keywords: gender, energy efficiency, housing

Topics: Gender, Gender Roles, Gender Analysis, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Europe, Nordic states, Northern Europe Countries: Sweden

Year: 2007

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