Energy Efficiency and Household

Categories: Energy Efficiency

 Theoretical Literature

There are theoretical and quite a number of empirical studies on residential household energy efficiency and consumption. Some theoretical analyses of household energy consumption are explained within the hypothesis identifies and uses income as a measure or determinant of household fuel utilization, alternative and switching performance (Heltberg, 2003). The theory espouses that there is a transition in energy efficiency for household needs from traditional biomass (i.e., grass, animal dung, firewood, charcoal, etc.) to modern sources (i.e., liquefied petroleum gas, kerosene, electricity), as there are increases in the incomes of households or improvement in welfare of households (Rajmohan & Weerahewa, 2009).

It is clearly spelled out in recent Word Bank reports (e.g. World Bank 2011 and 2010a) that nearly three billion people still rely on solid fuels and that women and children are disproportionately affected by the resulting indoor air pollution. In this report, the nature of the evidence for gender implications of energy poverty and of energy interventions and then comment on opportunities for energy interventions that will empower women and improve their livelihoods.

The bulk of this report is a review of the academic literature on the links between energy access and welfare, with gender implications. The focus is on three major areas of intervention:

  1. increased access to wood fuels through planting of trees and forest management,
  2. increased access to improved cooking technologies and
  3.  increased access to electricity and motive power.

According to the 2010 World Energy Outlook, projections suggest that energy access problems will persist and even deepen in the longer term: in their New Policies Scenario, 1.

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2 billion people still lack access to electricity in 2030, 87% of them living in rural areas. Most of these people will be in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and other developing Asian countries. .

 Accesses to Improved Cooking Technologies

Improved cook stoves have the potential to reduce indoor air pollution, improve the health of women and children, and cut time spent collecting fuel wood. However, penetration remains very low everywhere except in China, and few studies exist that identify the barriers to greater uptake. The definition of an improved stove depends on:

  • type of traditional stove,
  • aim of the design improvement, and
  • affordability.

Here we draw on a summary provided by a recent World Bank (2011) report. “Traditional cook stoves can range from three-stone open fires to substantial brick-and-mortar models and ones with chimneys.
An ongoing literature assessment by Lewis and Pattanayak (2011) has begun to address this gap by identifying studies that explicitly measure and estimate gender differentiated impacts of biomass burning. A preliminary assessment suggests that the impact of household cooking technology on women relative to men is ambiguous. Some studies show women gain relative to men (e.g., Xu et al., 2007), others suggest men gain relative to women (e.g., Liu et al., 2007). Given the narrowness of the time allocation literature, studies on the amount of fuel wood collected, relying on the assumption that the time spent collecting fuel wood and cooking is correlated with the quantity of fuel wood collected (Nepal et al., 2011; Pant et al., 2010).
The literature on gender and energy suggests that providing electricity to communities and homes and motive power for tasks that are typically considered women’s work can promote gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s and girls’ access to education, health care, and employment, e.g. in marketing of lights and appliances in Bangladesh (Mondal et al. 2010), and in managing engines that run mills or grinders in West Africa (Nygaard 2010). A recent review of gender issues in World Bank infrastructure projects notes that a “rural energy project in Yemen is investing in social mobilization and training activities to build women\'s capacities to participate fully and become decision makers in new local cooperatives that are being set up to manage the new schemes and collect user fees” (World Bank 2010a). Involving women is often hypothesized to have benefits for project management, resulting in less corruption, greater efficiency, or longer-term sustainability (see next section).
According to ADB (2010), and Chowdhury (2010) find that electrification reduces the time that women spend collecting fuel wood (in Bhutan) and increases the evening time they allocate to income generating activities and the probability of employment (in Bangladesh). It is also consistent with the conclusion that electrification has greater positive impacts on women when accompanied by effective social marketing and financing schemes for appliances that reduce the time required for domestic chores. In Bhutan, ADB (2010) concludes that electricity results in women spending 28 minutes per day less collecting fuel wood, as compared to 21 minutes per day less for men. In Guatemala, Grogan and Sadanand (2009) estimate that electricity results in women spending 34% less time cooking, but they find no impact on time spent caring for children. They find no impact on time allocation to either of these activities by men, who spend virtually no time caring for children or cooking regardless of whether their home has electricity.
The health benefits of electricity stem from cleaner air, reduced risk of burns, fires, and accidents, better nutrition and food safety from refrigeration, and improved health knowledge from access to mass media. Having electricity in the home can positively impact health through

  1. cleaner air (Pokhrel et al. 2010; ADB 2010) and reduced risk of burns and accidental fires (Peck et al. 2008) from kerosene as well as other liquid fuels and candles used for lighting;
  2. fewer accidents (e.g., cuts and burns) due to improved lighting;
  3. better nutrition and food safety due to refrigeration of food;
  4. improved health knowledge through better access to mass media and more time to read (IEG 2008).

While these benefits surely accrue to women because they spend time in the home, there is little empirical evidence that women benefit significantly more than men. The most suggestive evidence is (i) the persistent finding that electricity is associated with reduced use of fuelwood for cooking (with health impacts, as discussed in section 3), and (ii) impacts on reproductive and maternal health and fertility, which is gender-differentiated by definition.
In general, use of modern energy services will improve the health and socio-economic welfare of households (OECD/IEA, 2010). Having the right strategy in the promotion of energy transition requires a good understanding of the driving factors that influence energy choice. In this regard available evidences that are based on rigorous studies are limited and hence further empirical evidence from developing countries will help in the design of strategies for intervention by governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the area of energy and environment. In this study we identify and understand various socioeconomic factors that determine household fuel choice in urban Ethiopia.
According to (Khandker et al. 2010) analyses argued that negative association for male education and Households working in agricultural or casual labor, signaling their socioeconomic status, were less likely to use cleaner fuel, although self-employment was non-significant for energy efficiency. Socially marginal status was negatively associated with use of cleaner energy in 68% of studies that considered status. Households located in urban areas were much more likely to adopt clean energy compared with similar households in rural areas.
Some studies directly considered availability on energy efficiency: good availability of electricity was positively associated with clean energy use, whereas fuel wood availability and LPG access were inconclusive. The price of all energy options other than fuel wood was inconclusive; fuel wood price was non-significant. More critically, potentially influential institutional variables such as democratic governance (Wendland et al. 2011) and participation in village organizations (Saha S, Pattanayak SK, unpublished observations) were simply not considered in most primary analyses.
In summary, the literature on adoption of clean energy sources by households in developing countries remains scattered and largely qualitative. Although many efforts have sought to review ICS or fuel choice, rigorous statistical confirmation is rare. In this article, researcher explore how this ICS–fuel choice in the basic theory of technology adoption suggests that household (e.g., income, attitudes) and institutional (e.g., information campaigns, supply chain) factors determine household choice (Pattanayak and Pfaff, 2009). However, much of the existing quantitative research examines only a few factors such as income, education, and family size, which in turn are rough-and ready proxies (i.e., crude estimates that are easily captured) for the complex process of technology adoption..
Extensive removal of biomass resources for fuel has also exacerbated environmental degradation and restricted socioeconomic development in Ethiopia (Wolde‐Giorgis, 2002; Abebe et al., 2015). Dwindling firewood supplies due to deforestation and the consequent switch to dung cakes and crop residues for fuel in the Highlands of Ethiopia has jeopardized agricultural productivity (Zenebe et al., 2006).

Determinants of household energy choice in developing countries

Identifying major bottlenecks of the transition to more efficient household energy in developing countries is crucial for designing sustainable and environmentally benign household energy alternatives. There is little consensus in the literature on the factors determining choice of household fuel because fuel choice and consumption characteristics are highly specific to the local context.
The consumption of ‘dirty’ fuels, including biomass fuels, which result in poor indoor air quality, tends to decrease with increasing household income (Masera et al., 2000; Onoja & Anthony, 2012; A.J. Omojolaibi, unpublished). There is generally a positive correlation between the adoption of new energy sources and household wealth status (SEI, 2008; IEA, 2014), but Samuel (2002) in Ethiopia, and Jan et al. (2012) in Pakistan, found no significant positive relationship between wealth status and uptake of modern energy. In India, R. Hanna & P. Households may persistently use biomass fuels, despite adequate access to modern energy sources (Jan et al., 2012). Unreliable supply of modern energy sources, such as electricity, may also result in households reverting to biomass fuels (Treiber, 2012; Ogwumike et al., 2014; Mulu et al., 2016). Furthermore, price fluctuations may force households to shift from dirty fuels (firewood) to dirtier fuels (cattle dung and crop residues) (Treiber, 2012; R. Hanna & P. Oliva, unpublished). Poor energy policies and institutional frameworks are another possible hurdle to successful rural energy development (EUEI, 2013); the attention given to rural energy development by the Ethiopian government is very little compared to rural road construction, education and health (Wolde‐Giorgis, 2002).
This study tries to assess fuel choice and consumption characteristics of farm households in Kumbursa village in line with the fuel stacking model by focusing on variation in resource endowment of farm households as determinant factor. Other factors were assumed to be the same for all farm households of the study area.

The Empirical Literature

The paper provides empirical insights that household energy consumption is affected by socioeconomic variables and rural households are more deprived than urban households in terms of access to and use of modern energy. The most popular energy for cooking is wood and main electricity is the most popular energy for lighting. The wealth status of household, nature of residence (rural or urban) and the size of the household are key socioeconomic variables that affect energy consumption.

An Overview of the Energy Situation in Ethiopia

According to DFID (2015), Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world. It has one of the lowest rates of access to modern energy services, whereby the energy supply is primarily based on biomass. With a share of 92.4% of Ethiopia’s energy supply, waste and biomass are the country’s primary energy sources, followed by oil (5.7%) and hydropower (1.6%). Ethiopia has a final energy consumption of around 40,000 GWh, where of 92 % are consumed by domestic appliances, 4 % by transport sector and 3 % by industry. Most of the energy supply thereby is covered by bio energy, which in case of domestic use is usually stemming from unsustainable sources. The produced electricity of ~ 9000 GWh a is mainly generated by hydro energy (96 %) followed by wind energy (4 %), where of in total 11 % get exported. In contrast the major share of energy supply for transport is imported in forms of petroleum. It is endowed with renewable energy sources. These include first of all hydro, but also wind, geothermal, solar as well as biomass. Only a small portion of the potential is harnessed today. Due to its fast economic growth the energy demand is increasing enormous. Therefore it is expected to rise by a rate of 10 -14 % per year till 2037. Today only 27 % of the populations have access to electricity grid. This share is increasing due to an extension of the national grid on the one hand and an increasing number of Stand-alone-systems and Mini-grids on the other hand.
Ethiopia’s hydropower potential is estimated up to 45,000 MW and is the 2nd highest in Africa (only democratic Congo has a higher potential). Approximately 30,000 MW is estimated to be economically feasible which is equivalent to an electricity generation of 162 TWh. The current production of 3.98 TWh thus equals to an exploitation of only 2.5%.
According to DFID (2015), only 23% had access to electricity. In urban areas 85% had access, compared with 10% in rural areas. There are many forms of energy for lighting in Ethiopia, ranging from wood through candles and flashlight to electricity. However, electricity and kerosene are the major sources of energy for lighting in most Ethiopian homes.

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Energy Efficiency and Household. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

Energy Efficiency and Household
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