Noor Hanita Abdul Majid and Ibrahim Udale Hussaini

The global economies of the developed and developing worlds have acknowledged the need for energy conservation and are beginning to put in place strategies for its realization because of circumstances surrounding energy sustainability in the built environment. Many researchers, including M. Hegger et al. and D. Wulfinghoff, have noted that ‘‘no other sector of the economy uses more materials and energy, produces more waste and contributes less to material recycling than the building industry’’ with almost ‘‘50% of the total invested capital in developed nations tied up in the housing sector; and approximately 70% in existing buildings.’’1 However, the energy demand in Nigeria—as in most of the developing world—is on the rise as households increase their appliances and equipment use with improvements in their economic and social status. At the same time, many of these countries have constrained national power supplies that cannot meet demand and suffer from frequent outages. This phenomenon, in addition to the global ‘‘energy scarcity,’’ has led to a greater awareness of the need to make fundamental changes in the patterns of consumption. Furthermore, the question of inefficient housing and the associated human problems that are likely to be responsible for this inefficiency has given rise to the push to study individual houses and the disposition of their occupants. This study therefore focuses on the human dimension of energy use, which can provide a significant boost in the more efficient use of all energy resources if well understood and if behavior patterns can be shaped accordingly, as noted by K. Ehrhardt-Martinez. The role of human social behavior and its potential impact on energy conservation often has been overlooked in energy analysis in spite of the fact that it can significantly amplify or reduce the effects of technology-based efficiency improvements. This viewpoint is buttressed by the statement of L. Schipper, as cited in L. Lutzenhiser, that ‘‘those of us who call ourselves energy analysts have made a mistake. . . we have analyzed energy. We should have analyzed human behavior.’’  This underpins the adoption of the behavioral approach as the economy or technology-based models have offered limited contributions to policy makers and politicians on how to initiate enduring developments toward energy conservation.

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