Households account for a significant portion of total energy consumption and related GHG emissions . According to EEA, households are responsible for one-fourth of the total energy use in Europe. The differences in household energy consumption have mainly been explained by the level of income or the standard of living. However, the studies show differences in what women and men consume as well.
The energy consumption and carbon emissions been estimated from a gender perspective in four countries in Europe (Germany, Greece, Norway, and Sweden). The energy consumption was calculated for different purposes both directly and indirectly for single households. In all four European countries, the results showed on average that signal men consume more energy than the single women. However, women consume a bit more energy for the categories of food, hygiene, household effects, and health. In Greece and Sweden, there was a big gap in the energy consumption between men and women. Single Swedish men with no children used 22% more energy than single women while single Greek men used 39 % more than women .
A huge amount of the energy we use today is directly related to the buildings we live in. The poor energy efficiency of the old building which still standing for a long time is one of the main reasons for the high energy consumption. A study in Denmark found that gender is a significant factor in Danish energy renovation projects. The priorities of the energy renovations were considered differently between men and women. Cultural aspects generally have much interest from men when it comes to placing household renovation. These results proved the need for new methods which focuses on different gender practices and cultural influences to increase the number of energy renovations in the houses with the focusing on the technical improvement .
The standard of living is an important factor to analyse when looking at women’s and men’s energy consumption. In Germany for example, the highest income single women consume 141% more energy than lowest-income women. For men, the highest income single men consume 144% more lowest-income men. The consumption changed as well for different age groups. The average single man and woman used about double the energy used by the youngest group .
Women and men have different attitudes towards consumption and environment. In Sweden, they asked women and men how they can contribute to reduce CO2 emissions. The results showed that women were more willing to make efforts to save energy: 73% of women were willing to wash laundry at 40 instead of 60 degrees, compared to 63% of men. With regards to reduce the electricity consumption at home, 81% of women were willing to do so, compared to 74% of men. When they asked about willingness to reduce indoor temperatures, 66% of women were willing to do so, compared to 57% of men .
The role of gender in energy use and emissions is a worthwhile and important topic for research. However, it has not yet been sufficiently investigated. The gendered assumptions haven’t yet been studied scientifically when it comes to the development and the energy-efficient house technologies. Also, it is important to analyse the potential of such households to lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.