Keywords: energy consumption, energy efficiency, government policy, household lighting, social practices, compact fluorescent light bulbs, CFLs, UK, United Kingdom, lighting choices, media portrayal
En'lightening' energy use: the co-evolution of household lighting practices
Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs) are a well-developed, readily available technology that could deliver substantial energy savings in the residential sector. Due to this, lighting is usually a preferred target for household energy-saving campaigns and policies. However, the energy used to light homes continues to rise. In order to explore the reasons behind this increase, this paper examines changing household lighting practices in the UK using recent in-depth interview data and drawing upon current sociological theories about the construction of consumption practices. The paper illustrates how lighting choices made by householders tend to co-evolve with the household lighting practices portrayed by the media. It concludes that policies seeking to promote energy-efficient lighting technologies would be well advised to enlist the support of lighting designers, manufacturers, advertisers and sales people involved in the presentation of household lighting practices in the media.