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Selected Publication:

Grabher, HF; Rau, H; Ledermann, ST; Haberl, H.
(2023): Beyond cooking: An energy services perspective on household energy use in low and middle income countries
ENERGY RES SOC SCI. 2023; 97, 102946 FullText FullText_BOKU

More than three billion people depend on solid fuels for household energy, especially in rural areas of low and lower-middle income countries (LIC/LMIC). Rural households in LIC/LMIC use energy for a wide range of purposes, including food preparation, space and water heating, insect repulsion, illumination or the preparation of goods for sale. However, in these contexts, the majority of energy research frames energy end use as "cooking". So far, the different purposes for energy use have not received the necessary scientific attention. This research gap sidelines crucial insights required for the scientific analysis of sustainable energy transitions. Research on energy services emphasizes the multitude of purposes of energy consumption. This paper shifts the research focus towards an energy services perspective and presents results of a case study from Ethiopia. We analyse combinations of domestic energy services derived from biomass-based energy carriers and household appliances. Our study uses a mixed-methods approach to integrate qualitative interview data and quantitative data from a household survey. We show that cooking is rarely performed as an isolated domestic energy service. Instead, households usually cover several interconnected energy service needs simultaneously. Availability and utility of stoves, fireplaces and energy carriers determine how and when energy services are combined. Improved cookstoves (ICS) allow for fewer energy service combinations than less efficient appliances but reduce energy consumption. Our study underlines that an energy services perspective is indispensable to understand domestic energy use and answers the question what energy is actually used for. A better grasp of the purposes of energy use supports the development of adapted solutions and advances research into sustainable energy transitions.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Grabher Harald
Haberl Helmut

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
Energy services
Sustainable energy transition
Biomass energy
Stock -flow -service nexus
Improved cookstoves

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