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User-driven intervention strategies

for fostering energy-saving in South African households

In addressing a country’s energy efficiency and environmental targets, improving the efficiency of household energy consumption has always been an important component of energy conservation strategies. This National Research Foundation-funded research is a pilot programme designed to test the potential for and effectiveness of intervention strategies aimed at promoting energy saving in South Africa households. South Africa has one of the highest rates of access to energy in Africa with nearly 90% of its households connected to the national electricity grid. However, despite this seemingly positive outlook, South Africa is faced with a three-pronged challenge. First, the country is highly dependent on fossil fuels, meeting approximately more than 90% of electricity demand from coal. Second, most poor households cannot afford sufficient electricity to meet their daily needs and spend substantial proportions of their income on electricity. Third, the country is currently faced with persistent electricity load-shedding which has disastrous effects on the economy. Hence, the country’s main sustainability challenge is to reduce a heavy reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity while making sure households can afford and efficiently use electricity. Energy-saving intervention strategies such as print media (including pamphlets and reminder stickers), interactive face-to-face discussions and feedback will be used to determine which strategies are significantly more effective in promoting household energy-saving. This information is important as it can be used by policy makers to target areas and design behavioural intervention strategies for promoting energy conservation. It forms part of a broader global research initiative, known as Operationalizing User-Driven Resilience for Sustainability in Cities (OURS-Cities), which is providing a platform to tease out how bottom-up approaches or user-driven intervention strategies could be used to foster energy sustainability in cities.

 

Last Modified: Thu, 08 Jun 2017 13:43:10 SAST