Home comfort and “peak household”: implications for energy demand

Katherine Ellsworth-Krebs, Louise Reid, Colin J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


This paper draws on a study of Scottish householders living in “zero-carbon” homes. It explores how broader understandings of home comfort may explain changes that result in home life becoming increasingly energy demanding, despite householders’ intentions to save or decarbonize energy. The paper argues that domestic energy research must engage with the dreams, aspirations, and images of home that ultimately drive consumption and impact investment in housing and home energy improvements. This is done by examining the interrelationship between energy retrofitting and installing microgeneration technologies alongside discussing meanings of home comfort and visions of ideal homes with householders. The study argues that an important aspect of home improvements is due to accommodating the “needs” of the peak household. The paper concludes by discussing how a wider range of people and interventions could be pursued to reduce domestic energy demand such as promoting downsizing or working with home or lifestyle companies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalHousing, Theory and Society
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date27 Nov 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Nov 2019


  • Domestic energy research
  • Home improvement
  • Home comfort
  • Privacy
  • Retrofit
  • Renovation


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