Understanding household energy metabolism in the city of Cape Town

Strydom, Adel (2019-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2019.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Urban metabolism assessments enable the quantification of resource flows, which is useful for finding intervention points for sustainability. Globally, household energy consumption accounts for 72% of greenhouse gas emissions; therefore, a household energy metabolism assessment would reveal intervention points to reshape household energy consumption to inform decision-makers about a more sustainable urban energy system. In the Global South, this means providing sufficient access to energy to those still lacking, while reshaping energy consumption in households that are accessing energy in abundance. Current household energy consumption studies tend to limit the focus of study to outflows in the form of greenhouse gas emissions and are mostly undertaken at city or national level. Consequently, this study assessed the energy metabolism of different households in Cape Town, thereby assisting in improving urban metabolism assessment methods. A method was developed to assess household energy metabolism focusing on energy inflows in the form of carriers, and through-flows in the form of services, to identify intervention points for sustainability. This method was subsequently applied to the city of Cape Town. Surveys were used to collect data, and a final sample size was 360 households representing 56 suburbs. Households were categorised into four groups based on their average income: low-income, low-middle-income, highmiddle- income and high income. According to the services accessed, each income group was placed on an energy ladder, which indicates the drivers for energy access to be either satisfying subsistence needs or to effect comfort, convenience and cleanliness. Results show that many low-income households in Cape Town fully access the service of entertainment, which falls under comfort, convenience and cleanliness, but severely lack access to water heating, which is in the subsistence category. To make the energy system more sustainable, decision-makers’ focus regarding low-income households could be shifting to a more efficient energy carrier, as the paraffin mainly used in these households is inefficient, unsafe and expensive. Regarding middle and high-income households, the focus could be toward changing energy behaviour and reshaping consumption patterns.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Assesserings van stedelike metabolisme maak die kwantifisering van hulpbronstroming moontlik, wat nuttig is wanneer na ingrypingspunte vir volhoubaarheid gesoek word. Huishoudelike energieverbruik is verantwoordelik vir 72% van kweekhuisgasvrystellings; dus sou ʼn assessering van huishoudelike energiemetabolisme ingrypingspunte kon identifiseer vir die hervorming van huishoudelike energieverbruik, ten einde besluitnemers oor ʼn meer volhoubare stedelike energiestelsel in te lig. In die globale Suide beteken dit die voorsiening van voldoende toegang tot energie vir diegene wat dit steeds ontbreek, terwyl energieverbruik hervorm moet word in huishoudings met oorvloedige toegang daartoe. Hedendaagse studies van huishoudelike energieverbruik is geneig om die fokus van die studie tot uitstroming in die vorm van kweekhuisgasvrystellings te beperk, en die meeste word op stedelike of nasionale vlak onderneem. Gevolglik het hierdie studie die energiemetabolisme van verskillende huishoudings in Kaapstad geassesseer en sodoende bygedra tot die verbetering van metodes om stedelike metabolisme te assesseer. ʼn Metode is ontwikkel om huishoudelike energiemetabolisme te assesseer deur te fokus op energie-instroming in die vorm van draers, en deurstroming in die vorm van dienste, ten einde ingrypingspunte vir volhoubaarheid te identifiseer. Hierdie metode is voorts in Kaapstad toegepas. Opnames is gedoen om data vir ʼn finale steekproef van 360 huishoudings oor 56 woonbuurte in te samel. Huishoudings is op grond van hulle gemiddelde inkomste in vier groepe gekategoriseer: lae-inkomste, lae-middel-inkomste, hoë-middel-inkomste en hoë-inkomste. Elke inkomstegroep is op ’n energieleer geplaas op grond van die dienste waarvan hulle gebruik maak. Die energieleer dui die beweegredes vir die energiegebruik aan as óf om aan bestaansbehoeftes te voldoen, óf vir gerief, gemak en sindelikheid. Die resultate toon dat baie lae-inkomstehuishoudings in Kaapstad ten volle van vermaakdienste gebruik maak (wat onder gerief, gemak en sindelikheid sou val), maar ernstige gebrek aan toegang tot waterverwarming beleef (wat as bestaansbehoefte gekategoriseer sou word). Om die energiestelsel meer volhoubaar te maak, kan besluitnemers se fokus ten opsigte van lae-inkomstehuishoudings na ʼn meer doeltreffende energiedraer verskuif, aangesien paraffien, wat hoofsaaklik in hierdie huishoudings gebruik word, ondoeltreffend, onveilig en duur is. Ten opsigte van middel- en hoë-inkomstehuishoudings kan die fokus op energiegedrag en die hervorming van verbruikspatrone wees.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105607
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