Report from Forskningskampanjen 2012
We know a great deal about how much energy Norwegian households use, but less about indoor temperature and how the temperature varies throughout the day. Furthermore, we know very little about how satisfied Norwegians are with the indoor temperature, how it varies with the heating equipment that is being used and how indoor temperature and energy consumption are related. These are some of the questions that the Research Campaign 2012 may contribute to finding the answers to.
The Research Campaign is organised annually by the Research Council of Norway and the Environmental Education Network. The aim of the campaign is to involve Norwegian school children in ongoing and important research activities. The pupils who participated in the Research Campaign in 2012 measured the outdoor temperature as well as the temperature in four rooms in their homes, both morning and evening. In addition they registered the power consumption. The families’ focus on energy consumption issues was also mapped in a questionnaire, where the household members were asked how satisfied they were with the indoor temperature, their attitudes towards energy consumption, the extent of nagging about energy economising and various forms of economising behaviour within the family.
We find that a large proportion of Norwegian families keep a lower indoor temperature than what they consider to be comfortable on cold winter mornings, and that the mothers freeze more often than other family members. There are many indications in the data that this is done deliberately, and that many people choose to keep their homes a little cooler than what they consider to be comfortable in order to save energy or money. We also find a clear connection between indoor temperature and the type of heating equipment installed. On average, households with heat pumps and shared central heating systems keep a higher indoor temperature, while households that use fuel-wood keep a lower average temperature in their living rooms than other households. Another interesting finding is that there is a connection between indoor temperature and nagging about energy economising. Households where there is a considerable amount of discussion and nagging going on, keep their homes cooler on average than other households. It is, however, difficult to infer about causality from this result, since we have reason to believe that the level of nagging is correlated with the need for economising, and that it is higher in families who are generally concerned with saving energy.
All in all, the results from the Research Campaign 2012 imply that there is a high level of energy-saving effort in Norwegian households, and that many households choose to maintain a lower indoor temperature during parts of the day than they find comfortable. There are also clear indications that as soon as heating becomes cheaper, or if the household does not pay per unit of consumption, it reduces the economising behaviour, and leads many households to increase the indoor temperature.