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Household lifestyle, energy related practices and perceptions of energy efficiency: Evidence from Kitwe, Zambia

1 Department of Real Estate Studies, School of the Built Environment Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia;
2 Department of Real Estate and Construction, Faculty of Technology, Design and Environment, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford OX3 0BP, UK;
3 Department of Architecture, School of the Built Environment Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia;
4 Department of Urban and Regional Studies, School of the Built Environment Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia

Southern Africa is noted for not only constant power shortages but also poor access to electricity. In Zambia, for example, 75% of the population does not have access to electricity. This is partly because although Zambia has one of the lowest energy tariffs in Southern Africa, when compared with household monthly income, the resource is still reasonably unaffordable. Therefore, there is need to find innovative ways of reducing energy cost. Recent studies have indicated that there are patterns that show that there is a relationship between households' lifestyles and energy consumption. This means that understanding household lifestyles and how that impacts on energy use would be crucial in helping occupants to change their behaviours. This would result in the minimisation of energy consumption and thus a reduction in energy bills. However, there is a dearth of scholarly literature about households' lifestyles and their impacts on energy consumption in most developing countries including Zambia. This study investigates the perceptions of different lifestyles on household energy consumption and knowledge about energy efficiency in the city of Kitwe, the second largest city in Zambia. Motivation and barriers to energy efficiency have also been investigated. To achieve this, a mixed research approach was adopted. Firstly, a quantitative closed structured questionnaire instrument was used to collect data from 59 households in Kitwe. Secondly, mini-focus group discussions (average size of 5) ― brought about by the curiosity of residents and hence the contribution as families per household ― were undertaken in the informal settlement. The major findings are that households are generally motivated to implement energy saving strategies like covering pots when cooking, switching off lights in rooms that are not in use and that more information is needed as lack of knowledge and ‘landlord control' were identified as some of the barriers to energy efficiency.
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Keywords Buildings; energy efficiency; sustainable lifestyle; Zambia

Citation: Lilias Makashini, Austine Ngombe, Henry Abanda, Albert Malama, Priscilla Mudenda. Household lifestyle, energy related practices and perceptions of energy efficiency: Evidence from Kitwe, Zambia. AIMS Energy, 2014, 2(3): 276-294. doi: 10.3934/energy.2014.3.276

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This article has been cited by

  • 1. Albert Malama, Lilias Makashini, Henry Abanda, Austine Ng'ombe, Priscilla Mudenda, A Comparative Analysis of Energy Usage and Energy Efficiency Behavior in Low- and High-Income Households: The Case of Kitwe, Zambia, Resources, 2015, 4, 4, 871, 10.3390/resources4040871

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Copyright Info: 2014, Lilias Makashini, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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