This article describes the results of several research programmes that together aim at the development and application of methodologies that enable the study of long-term environmental effects (mainly related to the total household energy demand) of household consumption in relation to other economic sectors; this is usually described as the household metabolism approach. In this article we use energy consumption and CO 2 emissions as proxies for long-term impacts on the environment. The major long-term environmental effects of several hundred Dutch household consumption categories have been determined by means of the hybrid energy analysis methodology. Total energy consumption and related CO 2 emission data have been calculated as a function of household income and family type. Past trends have been studied by a time series (1950–1990) analysis. Technical reduction potentials have been calculated for mid and long-term scenarios. It is concluded that the set of methodologies described form a useful tool for the analysis of unsustainable trends in household consumption patterns and associated energy requirements in the past and the present. The results indicate that present trends lead towards unsustainability. However, reversal of these trends is feasible if this starts in the immediate future and if it is maintained for decades.
Ecological Economics – Elsevier
Published: Mar 1, 1999
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