SAC # 115

Children's energy consumption in New Zealand households



TIME | 25 August 2011, 4pm onwards

LOCATION | CSAFE Seminar Room, , Dunedin

SPEAKER | Ikerne Aguirre-Bielschowsky


My research aims to identify influences on children’s electricity usage in New Zealand households, and assess the potential of children in encouraging their families to adopt energy efficient practices. Children’s electricity consumption, and how they learn about energy, is poorly understood. The field is lacking a contextualised view of children’s energy literacy and potential for influencing household behaviour change. In the presentation I will propose a model that integrates the possible factors influencing children’s energy practices. The model endeavours to integrate energy literacy and Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour. The initial argument is that if children acquire knowledge, attitude and intention they will be more likely to improve their energy-related behaviour. Through example, communication, and negotiation, children’s efforts to save electricity could potentially have an effect on the energy practices of the entire family, making children catalysts of social change. Eventually, energy-saving practices could become part of the social norm in the long term, strengthening the energy literacy of the next generation. Complementing this view, this research will also explore the barriers children face regarding electricity savings, and the family negotiations involved in the process. This model will be used as a starting point to explore these issues through field work. The results will provide insights into a relatively new field, contribute to understanding the role of children as energy consumers, and explore their potential as agents of social and environmental change.

About the Speaker

Ikerne is a PhD candidate in Human Geography based at CSAFE, University of Otago. Her research interests are moving society towards a sustainable lifestyle, and discovering the role that children can play in this transition. She did her MA on cultural differences in children’s understanding of the environment. Her PhD research seeks to understand how children use electricity in households, how they communicate about it with their family, and explore their potential as agents of social and environmental change. 


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