Unsurprisingly, the rich heat their homes more

Heat wave, forest fires, war in Ukraine… After a summer of 2022 marked by intense energy news, it is time to ask ourselves what action to take to deal with climate change. In this regard, the Global Inequality Lab points out that “The wealthiest 10% are responsible for 48% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, while the poorest 50% are only responsible for 12% in total”.

Faced with this observation and the approaching winter, we can therefore wonder about the consumption behavior of the wealthiest households, while a controversy has already erupted in recent weeks about use of private jets.

Between 8% and 10% more

If we base ourselves on an abundant literature in economics, we tend to find a positive relationship between the level of income and energy consumption. This positive relationship can be associated with several phenomena, ranging from an increase in comfort temperature in winter to the purchase of new electricity-consuming equipment.

For example, studies have shown that a declared preference for thermal comfort can lead to an increase in energy consumption between 8% et 10% according to different estimates. The level of income could thus be perceived as an indicator to assess a specific level of comfort and equipment rate.

Moreover, the wealthiest households, which often live in recent individual houses and which can adjust their heating temperature, tend to consume more than what their energy performance diagnosis indicates, as we noted in a research article published in 2021.

By looking more closely at this relationship between income level and weight of energy consumption (based on recent French data collected as part of the PEPSI research project), we obtain that those who declare that they prefer thermal comfort rather than energy savings earn 7,965 euros more per year than the average household.

Equipment rate up

If we look in more detail at the link between the average heating temperature in winter in living rooms and the level of income (Figure 1), we see that households who heat themselves below 19°C earn relatively less than households that can maintain an adequate temperature.

The same goes for those who heat themselves to more than 25°C, but they are sometimes unable to be able to adjust their temperature (in general, households that are unable to adjust their heating temperature live in older homes and earn 4,016 euros less per year).

In addition, among households that heat to less than 19°C in winter, more than three-quarters declare that they restrict themselves.

Moreover, if we consider that households living in housing with the best energy label (and which therefore need less energy for heating), rated A, have an average income 13,000 euros higher than those who live in housing rated G, we also note that the wealthiest households spend significantly more on electricity and heating bills, which seems to reaffirm a proven preference for thermal comfort and the use of household appliances (Figure 2 ).

After “the second hottest summer observed in France since at least 1900 with a difference of +2.3°C compared to the 1991-2020 average” in 2022 according to Météo France, we can therefore wonder about the evolution of the electricity expenditure of French households in the years to come.

Same trend on air conditioning

Indeed, in general, the rate of equipment of households in cooling system increases since 2020. It is particularly owner households (75% of cooling system owners in 2020), often business leaders, self-employed or executives and residents of single-family homes who are driving this increase (60%).

This trend is now likely to increase if we want to be able to ensure thermal comfort and well-being for everyone. It will therefore be more than necessary to find long-lasting solutions to ensure thermal comfort in winter and summer, taking care not to create unevenness.

If technological innovations will probably make it possible to limit the weight of consumption on the climate, one solution also consists in continuing efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings while ensuring that the wealthiest households are informed of the weight of their consumption. on the climate.

This article is republished from The Conversation sous licence Creative Commons. Lire l’article original.

Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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