Working Paper 1: The timing and societal synchronisation of energy demand

Working paper 1: Theme 1, Giulio Mattioli, Elizabeth Shove and Jacopo Torriti, February 2014.

It is increasingly important to know about when energy is used in the home, at work and on the move. Issues of time and timing have not featured strongly in energy policy analysis and in modelling, much of which has focused on estimating and reducing total average annual demand per capita. If smarter ways of balancing supply and demand are to take hold, and if we are to make better use of decarbonised forms of supply, it is essential to understand and intervene in patterns of societal synchronisation. This calls for detailed knowledge of when, and on what occasions many people engage in the same activities at the same time, of how such patterns are changing, and of how might they be shaped. In addition, the impact of smart meters and controls partly depends on whether there is, in fact scope for shifting the timing of what people do, and for changing the rhythm of the day. Is the scheduling of daily life an arena that policy can influence, and if so how? The DEMAND Centre has been linking time use, energy consumption and travel diary data as a means of addressing these questions and in this working paper we present some of the issues and results arising from that exercise.

This working paper summarises a presentation given on 10th December 2013 to the Department of Energy and Climate Change. All the authors are part of the DEMAND research centre.

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