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French residential energy demand: Micro-econometric analysis of household multi-fuel energy consumption


In this paper, we explore patterns of French household energy consumption using the 2006 Enquête Logement, a disaggregate household level survey data set. Information on the physical characteristics of residential buildings and household socio-demographics is particularly rich. The residential sector is divided into 3 types: individual houses, privately owned units in collective residences, and public housing units in collective residences. We estimate a total energy demand equation of households for each housing type. The model incorporates a continuous/discrete decision framework which allows for interactions between decisions on the heating system (the discrete choice) and the consumption of energy (the continuous choice). The model parameters are estimated using a twostage approach. In the first stage, decisions regarding heating systems are modelled with a multinomial probit model. Households are supposed to choose between three heating system modalities: (i) electricity v.s (ii) oil v.s (iii) natural gas when households live in individual houses or (i) electricity v.s (ii) individual natural gas heating v.s (iii) collective heating when household live in collective buildings. In the second stage, the demand for energy conditional on the chosen heating system then is estimated using a double least squares approach. Results show that the intensity of energy used per m² is almost completely determined by the technological properties of the dwelling and the climate. The part played by sociodemographic variables is particularly weak. This means that, in the short run, energy demand per m² is determined little by the household itself. The possibility for a given household to control its level of energy consumption per m² in a given dwelling is extremely weak in the absence of investment in the quality of the residence.