In the last four decades energy efficiency has become a central element of policy documents and public speeches. Success in promoting energy efficiency has been different across sectors. In households results are often more difficult to obtain and monitor. A conjunction of factors related to agential powers and structural elements – lifestyles, information, education, social status, income, age, incentives, knowledge, technology, and infrastructure – seem to be shaping the way energy efficiency is being integrated in day-to-day practices.
Building on the theories of practice this communication aims to discuss the influence of factors like rules and knowledge, meanings, material structure and practical understanding in shaping lighting practices among Portuguese families and how energy efficiency has influenced the way people understand lighting as a practice.
Results show that, at the same time as energy efficiency became a central element in policies for the lighting area, diversification of solutions introduced new choice factors that made more complex the once simple act of acquiring a light bulb. Also partially due to the diversification of lighting solutions, changes have occurred on the cultural meanings and functions attached to lighting practices. This new context has resulted in the construction of new practices related to lighting, not necessarily more efficient or sustainable.
Combining data from a survey and interviews to families and to energy experts and technology manufacturers, different perspectives will be discussed aiming at a deeper understanding of the pros and cons of energy efficiency if the objective is to build a more sustainable society.