Energy saving and efficiency strategies are generally focused on optimization of devices, end uses appliances or productive machinery. However, their utilization factors are much more crucial when talking about redistributive downscaling of production and consumption in industrialized countries and are usually forgotten. If the utilization factor is usually very high in the production processes (most industries have three work shifts to maximize investments), this is not the case in the households where devices acquisition have another logic.
Jevons paradox is due to improvements in efficiency are used to consume more direct and indirectly. Similarly happens with use factor: the cheaper the production, the lower use factor in consumption. The key issue is that improvements in efficiency are transformed into a reduction of the need of sharing devices: more people prefer to have their own rather than follow (or build) the rules of a common, pay for rent or accept the requirements of lending. What are explicit and implicit reasons making people chose each option for satisfying their needs? What are the potential energy savings of increasing the utilization factor of certain devices?
This paper presents a discussion about the tensions and trade-offs between the psychosocial costs of sharing for meet needs and the energy cost of not doing so. The psychosocial issues have been studied through in-depth interviews in the area of Barcelona looking for which kind of devices are more sensitive to be shared and which are not. What type of institution and strategies could be better for increasing utilization factor of critical devices are illustrated with some key studies.
This media entry was a contribution to the special session „Social organization strategies for a reduction of energy consumption“ at the 5th International Degrowth Conference in Budapest in 2016.