Households’ potential to decrease their environmental impacts: A cost-efficiency analysis of carbon saving measures

Hannele Ahvenniemi, Tarja Häkkinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to quantify the potential levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) and cost savings from a set of households’ energy saving measures, considered as “everyday choices”. Design/methodology/approach: Four areas of living were selected for the study: household electricity, space heating, transport and food consumption. The study used a quantitative research approach in which the impact of selected scenarios of an average Finnish household was assessed. Findings: Findings suggest that GHG savings from behavioural change regarding household electricity remain marginal in comparison to savings gained from transportation related measures. Transportation also provides the most cost-efficient ways to decrease GHGs but not in all cases. Based on the results, the authors suggest that smart technologies, such as on-line, active feedback systems could have a major role in guiding household energy use. Also, given the high GHG savings from transport, the authors highlight the importance of providing infrastructure and services for clean mobility, and in designing well-functioning and compact cities enabling shorter travels. Originality/value: The aim of our study was twofold – by analysing the case household’s choices, we obtained information on environmental and economic impacts, but in addition to this, the aim was to open discussion on the role of households in tackling climate change and how to support households in making sustainable choices. Although research regarding household energy behaviour is vast, so far very few studies have focused on both economic and environmental impacts of households’ everyday actions.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)193-212
    JournalInternational Journal of Energy Sector Management
    Issue number1
    Early online date2019
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2020
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    This study was part of Evaluating Smart Incentives in Social Formation of Energy Choices (EVIDENCE) project funded by the Academy of Finland (Decision No. 286648).


    • Carbon saving measures
    • CO emission
    • CO mitigation
    • Cost comparison
    • Cost minimization
    • Cost-efficiency
    • Electricity
    • Food consumption
    • Greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
    • Household energy behaviour
    • Scenario analysis
    • Sustainable choices
    • Sustainable mobility
    • Transport


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