Household carbon emission research: An analytical review of measurement, influencing factors and mitigation prospects

Xiaoling Zhang*, Lizi Luo, Martin Skitmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)
310 Downloads (Pure)


Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are simultaneously exhausting the world's supply of fossil fuels and threatening the global climate. In many developing countries, significant improvement in living standards in recent years due to the accelerating development of their economies has resulted in a disproportionate increase in household energy consumption. Therefore, a major reduction in household carbon emissions (HCEs) is essential if global carbon reduction targets are to be met. To do this, major Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) states have already implemented policies to alleviate the negative environmental effects of household behaviors and less carbon-intensive technologies are also proposed to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. However, before any further remedial actions can be contemplated, though, it is important to fully understand the actual causes of such large HCEs and help researchers both gain deep insights into the development of the research domain and identify valuable research topics for future study. This paper reviews existing literature focusing on the domain of HCEs. This critical review provides a systematic understanding of current work in the field, describing the factors influencing HCEs under the themes of household income, household size, age, education level, location, gender and rebound effects. The main quantification methodologies of input-output models, life cycle assessment and emission coefficient methods are also presented, and the proposed measures to mitigate HCEs at the policy, technology and consumer levels. Finally, the limitations of work done to date and further research directions are identified for the benefit of future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-883
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015
Externally publishedYes


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