Lifestyle practices and pro-environmental technology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Authors

  • Jonn Axsen
  • Jennifer TyreeHageman
  • Andy Lentz

External organisations

  • Simon Fraser University
  • University of California, Davis

Abstract

We explore sociological concepts of lifestyle practices as they relate to sustainable consumption. Specifically, we investigate how and why consumers may transition toward adopting and using new pro-environmental technologies (PETs), namely electric vehicles, solar panels, and a green electricity program. We build a conceptual framework from lifestyle theory, where lifestyle is defined as a grouping of related practices that can reflect and inform the consumer's self-concept (or identity). We apply this framework using a novel quantitative survey method, implemented with a representative sample of 711 San Diego households. Through factor analysis, we identify engagement in pro-environmental practices as independent of engagement in other lifestyle types. We then group respondents into five clusters based on lifestyle engagement, attitudes and openness to lifestyle change (liminality). The three clusters with green attitudes ("greens") vary substantially by interest in PETs. "Engaged" and "aspiring" greens are attracted to all three PETs, while "low-tech" greens report mild interest in green electricity only. Non-green "techies" only report interest in solar panels, while "traditionalists" report uniformly low PET interest. Results demonstrate the relevance of lifestyle theory, and provide a unique, empirical application that can improve understandings of opportunities and barriers to sustainable consumption.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-74
Number of pages11
JournalEcological Economics
Volume82
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cluster analysis, Consumer behavior, Environmental attitudes, Factor analysis, Lifestyle, Sustainable consumption