Dissemination of energy-saving lifestyles is a policy agenda under the 4th strategic energy plan of Japan because of increased importance of household sector both in terms of tackling global warming and energy issues resulting from the nuclear accident in Fukushima in March 2011. When discussing lifestyles, however, most previous studies on energy and lifestyles conducted in Japan put focuses on time schedule of people's daily routine and the use of electric devices. More recent studies try to highlight the overlapped living spaces and time among the family members as factors affecting energy-saving of the household, yet failing to capture people's underlying values which are considered an integral part of their lifestyles. This study aims to investigate what energy-saving lifestyles entail, by looking at the relationship between people's values, other determinant factors behind energy-saving behaviors, and actual electricity consumption.
An all-electric apartment with home energy management systems (HEMS) in Yokohama, Japan, is targeted as a case study. Behavioral intention and actual behavioral indicators declared by respondents in a questionnaire, as well as other behavioral, i.e. the ways of living, indicators calculated from the electricity consumption data collected by HEMS are jointly used as potential influencer on people's behavior and electricity consumption. This is expressed by an equation, Ce = f (Y, Np, T, Ned, …, EC, V), whereby it reads that “the electricity consumption of a given household is a function of the family income, the number of family members, the time schedule of daily routine, the number of electric devises used, as well as people's energy cognition and values in life, and so forth”. For people's energy cognition and values, this study assumes that socially oriented values are related to factors that form energy-attitude and therefore a higher level of behavioral intention and actual behaviors taken, thus leading to a more energy-saving lifestyles, and vice versa, based on socio-psychological theories such as Schwartz's basic human value theory.
The results indicate that the ways of living indicators are the strongest influencer on electricity consumption, as suggested by previous studies, while people's values also show a certain level of influence. The fact that behavioral intention, of which formulation is affected by self-transcendent values, is the common determinant factor affecting electricity consumption for all seasons reinforces the importance of self-transcendent values in fostering connections from people's behavioral intention to actual actions, and therefore realizing energy-saving lifestyles.