Time-shifting laundry practices in a smart grid perspective: a cross-cultural analysis of Pakistani and Danish middle-class households
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Khalid, R., Christensen, T., Gram-Hanssen, K., & Friis, F. (2019). Time-shifting laundry practices in a smart grid perspective: a cross-cultural analysis of Pakistani and Danish middle-class households. Energy Efficiency, 12 (7), 1691-1706. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-018-9769-7
Future smart infrastructure development, in both developing and developed countries, is hinged on demand management and response strategies with consumers actively involved in time-shifting electricity consumption for improved efficiency. This paper presents a qualitative, interview-based, comparative study of how homeowners adapt their practices to the changing systems of electricity provision in two countries, Pakistan and Denmark. It reveals that household practices like laundering are flexible, highly contextualised and embedded in the wider socio-material and cultural context. In Denmark, time-shifting of laundering in households with photovoltaics is done voluntarily and closely interwoven with the temporal rhythms of the common dual-income household, as well as the natural cycles of the sun and weather, and is in most cases based on some degree of automation. In Pakistan, blackout schedules dictate time-shifting of most practices. Large family sizes and nuanced clothing make laundering more complex, socially-bound and time-consuming; however, joint family systems, provision of house-staff and outsourcing make it more time-flexible and less dependent on automation and electricity-use. Using theories on temporalities of practices in a cross-cultural analysis highlights the significance of local socio-material and cultural context in the performance, bundling and synchronisation of practices. While practice theories prove useful in cross-cultural comparison of temporalities of household practices and demand, further theory development is needed to conceptualise practices as shared or socially differentiated entities in varying cultural contexts. This has implications for demand management policies proposed in smart-grid transitions as well as in the possible cross-cultural transfer of smart technology and demand response strategies.
The Pakistan case-study is part of a PhD research at the University of Cambridge, funded by Vicky Noon Cambridge Scholarship under the Cambridge Commonwealth, European & International Trust. The Danish case-study is part of the ERA-Net Smart Grid Plus funded project Markets, Actors & Technologies – A comparative study of smart grid solutions (MATCH). The international cooperation was made possible through the UserTEC project funded by Innovation Fund Denmark.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-018-9769-7
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/288476
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/