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Sick and stuck at home – how poor health increases electricity consumption and reduces opportunities for environmentally-friendly travel in the United Kingdom

Sick and stuck at home – how poor health increases electricity consumption and reduces opportunities for environmentally-friendly travel in the United Kingdom
Sick and stuck at home – how poor health increases electricity consumption and reduces opportunities for environmentally-friendly travel in the United Kingdom

Research on the determinants of direct and indirect energy use has identified a range of relevant socio-economic factors. However, we still know little about possible influences of people's health on their energy use. Do people in poor health use less energy because they are on lower incomes, or do they have additional domestic energy needs as they spend more time at home? Does poor health reduce mobility for all or just some (environmentally-friendly) modes of travel? This paper examines these questions through analysis of the representative UK Understanding Society survey. We find that poor health is generally linked to lower home energy use and lower engagement in all forms of travel. However, once we control for income and other socio-demographic factors, poor health is related to higher electricity consumption. These findings have important policy implications as it means that people in poor health would be additionally burdened by higher cost of electricity but, due to their low mobility, less so by higher cost of energy-intensive forms of travel. While promoting good health could support environmentally-friendly travel, additional measures would be required to prevent a rise of energy-intensive modes of travel.

Energy use, Health, Socio-demographic factors, Travel
2214-6296
250-259
Buchs, Milena
c62b4fbd-660c-4642-876e-de9512db9a9c
Bahaj, AbuBakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
Blunden, Luke
c516a483-c83b-434d-9eee-f252f6ca8f2d
Bourikas, Leonidas
5faf69fc-1b5a-4613-ae9f-cd135092af9c
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b
Kamanda, Mamusu
454b746f-e6f0-4a72-a8ac-1b54754c0958
Wu, Yue
29ddc290-94f2-4f94-b334-931e4ca1e702
Buchs, Milena
c62b4fbd-660c-4642-876e-de9512db9a9c
Bahaj, AbuBakr
a64074cc-2b6e-43df-adac-a8437e7f1b37
Blunden, Luke
c516a483-c83b-434d-9eee-f252f6ca8f2d
Bourikas, Leonidas
5faf69fc-1b5a-4613-ae9f-cd135092af9c
Falkingham, Jane
8df36615-1547-4a6d-ad55-aa9496e85519
James, Patrick
da0be14a-aa63-46a7-8646-a37f9a02a71b
Kamanda, Mamusu
454b746f-e6f0-4a72-a8ac-1b54754c0958
Wu, Yue
29ddc290-94f2-4f94-b334-931e4ca1e702

Buchs, Milena, Bahaj, AbuBakr, Blunden, Luke, Bourikas, Leonidas, Falkingham, Jane, James, Patrick, Kamanda, Mamusu and Wu, Yue (2018) Sick and stuck at home – how poor health increases electricity consumption and reduces opportunities for environmentally-friendly travel in the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science, 44, 250-259. (doi:10.1016/j.erss.2018.04.041).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Research on the determinants of direct and indirect energy use has identified a range of relevant socio-economic factors. However, we still know little about possible influences of people's health on their energy use. Do people in poor health use less energy because they are on lower incomes, or do they have additional domestic energy needs as they spend more time at home? Does poor health reduce mobility for all or just some (environmentally-friendly) modes of travel? This paper examines these questions through analysis of the representative UK Understanding Society survey. We find that poor health is generally linked to lower home energy use and lower engagement in all forms of travel. However, once we control for income and other socio-demographic factors, poor health is related to higher electricity consumption. These findings have important policy implications as it means that people in poor health would be additionally burdened by higher cost of electricity but, due to their low mobility, less so by higher cost of energy-intensive forms of travel. While promoting good health could support environmentally-friendly travel, additional measures would be required to prevent a rise of energy-intensive modes of travel.

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Accepted/In Press date: 20 April 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 5 June 2018
Published date: October 2018
Keywords: Energy use, Health, Socio-demographic factors, Travel

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 421441
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/421441
ISSN: 2214-6296
PURE UUID: dd292d15-5d6a-4204-8d53-707e9974255e
ORCID for AbuBakr Bahaj: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0043-6045
ORCID for Leonidas Bourikas: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5289-2157
ORCID for Jane Falkingham: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7135-5875
ORCID for Patrick James: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-2694-7054

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 12 Jun 2018 16:30
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 02:04

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Contributors

Author: Milena Buchs
Author: AbuBakr Bahaj ORCID iD
Author: Luke Blunden
Author: Leonidas Bourikas ORCID iD
Author: Jane Falkingham ORCID iD
Author: Patrick James ORCID iD
Author: Mamusu Kamanda
Author: Yue Wu

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