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First observations in children’s electricity consumption in NZ households Ikerne Aguirre-Bielschowsky Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE) University of Otago.

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Presentation on theme: "First observations in children’s electricity consumption in NZ households Ikerne Aguirre-Bielschowsky Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE) University of Otago."— Presentation transcript:

1 First observations in children’s electricity consumption in NZ households Ikerne Aguirre-Bielschowsky Centre for Sustainability (CSAFE) University of Otago OERC Symposium 24 November 2011

2 Context  Sustainability: peak oil + global warming  Children as citizens + future decision makers Aims  Identify and understand the different factors influencing children’s electricity usage in NZ households  Assess the potential of children in encouraging their families to adopt energy efficient practices

3 Energy Literacy ++ KnowledgeAttitudes Intended behaviour Family practices Personal behaviour Social Norm Family dynamics, communication and negotiation Barriers regarding electricity savings

4  Qualitative  Interdisciplinary  10 families x 3 schools  Year 5 9-11 years old  Semistructured individual interviews: parent + child + teacher  Photo elicitation  Survey for parents  Focus groups: 4-6 children x 3 schools Methods Environmental programme Medium socioeconomic background High socioeconomic background

5 First observations…  Focus groups with two schools  Large Dunedin schools  No environmental programme  Decile 10: 3 boys + 3 girls  Decile 5: 2 boys + 2 girls  1 hour long  Video + audio  5 to 10 photos + drawing

6 Computer 8 TV 6 Stereo 5 Microwave 5 Fridge, stove 4 Phone 4 Heat pump 4 Lamp 3 Dishwasher 2 Keyboard 2 Toaster, mixer 2 Water tapShowerBoilerWater filter LightsHeaterDVDGamingiPad “ I could have took millions ” (Tom) “ I took 24 photos so …” (Simon)

7 Shower Times No rules “Long, long [...]. 30 minutes or so since I don’t want to get out.” (Simon) Common understanding “There’s no rules except [...] you can’t take four hours in the shower...”(Jonathan) Negotiation “[...] for about 20 minutes but if we are doing it before school what we do quite a lot is only about 5 minutes [...], ‘it’s time to get out of the shower now Tommy boy’ [...] I don’t… I don’t listen.” (Max) Rules “It would have a timer [...] and when you have once two minutes shower it will stop running the water so…” (Larry)

8 Heaters and Heat Pumps Self-control “I just sit in front of it [heat pump] until I get really warm and then I just turn it off [Rachel: So you are not going to be tempted to stay there for the rest of your life?] No, that would be a waste of energy”. (Jonathan) Instructions “Well just mum or dad tell me to.” (Rachel) “Dad just tells me [...], I don’t play with things that aren’t mine.” (Larry) No interaction “Well I don’t really do any with heaters, I just leave them as they are.” (Max) “Mum hides the remote [...] so we can’t tamper with it.” (Linda)

9 Lights off “I turn off the main lights but then I sort of forget with the lamp.” (Linda) “No, I don’t.” (Emma) “Yeah, [...] it would [...] waste electricity.” (Tom)

10 “Sort of [...]. I turn off the light and I try not to take very long in the shower and… well, I try, I don’t… that doesn’t usually happen though, and I do… we use snacks from the pantry more than cooking and don’t use the car very much, mum walks, she makes us walk, and we wear our clothes for a few days so she can only do washing once a week or something.” (Linda) “Yeah, we turn off the lights and if we are not using something we turn it off.” (Alison) Trying to save electricity

11 Problems - Cost “Electricity bills [...]. Mum gets $300 dollars and she hates it!” (Rachel) “[...] cause you won’t be able to pay the power then they will turn off your power and then you won’t be able to watch TV and stuff like that… like my next door neighbour.” (Larry) “It costs money and my mum can save enough for my birthday present.” (Simon) “So you don’t end up poor and like me you can pay the rent.” (Emma)

12 Problems – Finite electricity “So [...] electricity doesn’t run out basically [...]. If everyone leaves everything on then probably everywhere but probably just in your house not absolutely everywhere, that would just be quirky.” (Tom). “If all the electricity made out in the world at the same time would end up… caveman and have to catch in about animals and eat them [...].” (Emma). “This generation have used quite a lot of natural resources, soon the next one will go ‘damn that other generation, what did they did for us?’ It’s like Santa not giving you your birthday present [...]. If everyone goes like ‘ah, I don’t count’ and they just sit back many other people do that and then… [Simon: We’ll die!]. Yes, we’ll die (all laugh) [...]. Because we lose our natural resources just like ‘damn the trees’ (all laugh).” (Max)

13 Problems – Environment “Environment! [How is that related to using electricity?] I don’t know, don’t ask me that [...] mum says stuff.” (Linda) Tom: I used to think that it was pronounced “global warning”. Larry: I don’t know what that is. Emma: Global warming is a big thing that space ships have to go through [...]. Tom: Global warming is when the world warms up too much and Antarctica basically melts [...]. Electricity causes fires sometimes. [...Saving power] makes global warming slow down basically, using less electricity causes less fires.

14 Do you talk about saving electricity with your parents? “Not really.” (Alison and Larry) “They [parents] know how [to save power] but they just don’t want to.” (Max) “Mum forgets about the jug I tell her ‘did you have your cup of tea or coffee?’ [...]. She’s okay with me reminding her.” (Emma)

15 Learning sources “We’ve had other people come in [school] and just tell us a bit about it.” (Simon) “I read the electricity bill [...] ‘how to lower your electricity bill?’.” (Rachel) “This man [on TV] who goes like ‘if you want to be warmer and you do not want to use your heater [...] you should blah, blah’.” (Max) “We kind of see signs out and about in the world.” (Max) “Mainly from my parents” (Larry) “On the computer, or books” (Tom)

16 + Intended Energy Literacy + KnowledgeAttitudes behaviour Family practices Personal behaviour $ Environment Finite electricity Positive? Helping to save power

17 Thank you! Acknowledgments Prof. Rob Lawson Dr. Janet Stephenson Prof. Sarah Todd Energy Cultures Group Questions?

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