Estimating Heating-Related GHG Emissions: The Advantage of a Household Composition-Based Survey Approach

Publication from Life
Klimaneutrale Energiesysteme und Lebensstile

Markus Schweighart, Stephan Schwarzinger, David Neil Bird

International Journal of Sociology Volume 50, 2020 - Issue 6, Pages 473-494, 9/2020


Most studies that focus on heating-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions do so with either a focus on technical aspects or a focus on heating-related attitudes and behavior. Either way, they assign little attention to the influence of sociodemographic factors. However, if an integrated understanding of the sociological factors behind heating-related GHG emissions is to be developed, the interrelationship of sociologically relevant predictors, emission-relevant technological parameters, and impact indicators must be assessed. In this study, we analyzed the impact of sociodemographic variables and of the intention to use energy sustainably on technological dwelling characteristics and heating-related GHG emissions by applying linear and logistic regression models on data of 604 Austrian households. Our analyses show that not only the household size but also the composition (the specific numbers of adults and children living together) affect the emissions. We found not only that sociodemographic variables explain a considerable proportion of the variance in the available living space but also that there are relationships among occupants’ sociodemographic data, their intentions, and technical characteristics of the dwellings in which they live.

Keywords: Heating, energy, emissions, housing, energy cultures, household