Behaviour of Ibadan City Households Towards Energy Conservation: A Discriminant Analytical Approach

Behaviour of Ibadan City Households Towards Energy Conservation: A Discriminant Analytical Approach

Stephen Enyinnaya Eluwa (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Built Environment, Johor Bahru, Malaysia) and Ho Chin Siong (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Built Environment, Johor Bahru, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSESD.2016040103


Energy consumption of household sector constitutes major share in the total energy demand of most developing countries. However, much of the current debate on global warming and energy reduction seems to focus more on the industrial and transport sectors. Using discriminant analytical approach, the authors investigated the influence of psychological variables vis-a-vis attitude and perceived behavioural control (PBC) on energy conservation behaviour of Ibadan city residents, Nigeria. Through a household survey, 822 respondents were sampled across the residential neighbourhoods of the city. The study builds a model that contains variables with the most predictive power in discriminating respondents based on their socio-demographic groups. Results indicate that two variables significantly separate the income-groups based on attitudinal readiness to engage in energy conservation, while three variables separate the gender and age groups. In addition, results show that low income group, elderly and females are more willing to adopt energy saving measures.
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Promoting energy-efficient technology and renewable energy development is not sufficient to solve the problems of high energy consumption and environmental pollution (Yue etal. 2013). In this regard, behavioural change towards energy use could make a significant contribution towards solving the problem (Ouyang and Hokao, 2009; Feng et al. 2010).Conservation of energy is an important aspect of international policies addressing environmental pollution and global warming. Human behaviour has been identified as an important aspect of energy conservation and greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions reduction (Martiskainen, 2007). Energy conservation by residential sector plays a major role in these endeavours, since it accounts for about one-fifth of global energy demand (Brounen, et al. 2013). In most developing countries where level of industrialization is low, the energy demand by the residential sector accounts more than other sectors (transport, industrial, commercial activities). In Nigeria for example, the sector accounts for about 40% of the total energy demand (Report on Vision 2020). Dietz et al. (2009) noted that the household sector contributes significantly to energy demand and GHG in the United States. The sector according to the authors accounted for about 38% of the total CO2 emissions in the country in year 2005. The household sector which accounts for much of the emissions of GHG has been underestimated whenever the issues of global warming and GHG emissions are being discussed.

Although the supply of modern energy services in Nigeria especially electricity from the grid could be said to be very low, energy conservation and rationalization will serve as one of the necessary steps that needs to be adopted in order to address this disconnect. Even though energy conservation and efficiency may not be regarded as resource per se, its adoption in a country like Nigeria can significantly help in reducing the supply challenge (Oyedepo, 2012). Adaptation and mitigation strategies have majorly been focused on low-carbon technologies or creating cap–and–trade regimes for emissions (Lin, 2013). The structural approach to energy conservation which involves the application of energy efficient technology, undeniably, contributes significantly to reduction in energy demand and GHG emissions. However, this may become inefficient in some circumstances if the human dimension is not taken into consideration (Ting et al.2011). Lutzenhiser (1993) observed that energy pundits have focused mainly on energy efficient technologies and that this is a great mistake. The author noted that human behaviour should be analysed because the success or failure of any energy efficiency technology to a large extent will be influenced by human behaviour. Energy conservation involves behavioural change and consciousness in energy use by consumers. Liao et al. (2008) noted that energy conservation is an inescapable responsibility for humanity. Considering the rising population and affluence being experienced in many parts of the world, the demand for energy services would continue to increase, thus putting pressure on existing resources and at the same time impacting negatively on the global climate. Gifford (2001) observed that majority of people acknowledge that climate change and sustainability are major problems confronting the society, but only a few people engage in GHG mitigation behaviours. Therefore, having a proper understanding of how behavioural changes could help induce reduction in energy consumption becomes necessary.

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