Thermostat wars? The roles of gender and thermal comfort negotiations in household energy use behavior

Nicole Sintov, Lee White, Hugh Walpole

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Although advanced thermostat technologies offer energy efficiency potential, these devices alone do not guarantee savings. Household occupants often deviate from thermostat programs, perhaps due to differing thermal comfort preferences, which are strong drivers of residential energy use and vary across genders. This study aims to develop an initial typology of interpersonal interactions around thermal comfort, explore the role of gender in such interactions, and examine the impacts of interactions on thermostat adjustments. Using n = 1568 diary observations collected from 112 participants, we identify three interaction types: conflicts, compromises, and agreements. Fixed effects analyses find that women are marginally more likely to report engaging in conflicts, whereas men are significantly more likely to report engaging in agreements and compromises, both of which are associated with greater likelihood of adjusting thermostats within a given day. This work represents an early step in investigating the multiply determined nature of household energy decisions.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPLOS ONE (Public Library of Science)
    Volume14
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2019

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