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Do habitual energy saving behaviors of household heads impact energy consumption in their own dwelling? An exploration in the French residential sector

Charlier, Dorothée; Martinez Cruz, Adan


This paper investigates whether habitual energy saving behaviors of a household head impact actual energy consumption in his/her own dwelling. In doing so, this paper compares actual energy consumption across French households that, with exception of household heads’ energy saving behaviors, are similar in observables –including household composition and dwellings’ energy efficiency. Comparisons are carried out within three subsets of households, based on renovation status of dwellings –i) no renovation; ii) with renovations tackling health- and/or energy-related issues; and iii) with renovations aiming to increase thermal comfort. No differences in actual energy consumption are documented across the three subsamples. We interpret this result as suggesting that habitual energy saving behaviors of household heads may not compensate energy intensive behaviors of other household members and, consequently, may produce no discernible impact on their own dwelling’s energy consumption. This result highlights the potential for misleading conclusions when imputing the energy saving behaviors of the household head to the entire household –a conventional practice in a number of literatures. The French residential sector is taken as study case due to the uniqueness and richness of data collected by PHEBUS –the Performances of Housing, Energy Equipment, Needs and Uses of Energy Survey.


habitual energy saving behaviors; household head’s preferences; energy performance gap; French residential sector; propensity score matching

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CERE Working Paper
2020, nummer: 2020:5
Utgivare: Department of Economics, Umeå University

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