Can Household Sustainability Be Sustainably Achieved?
Changing the way household decisions are made can increase environmental sustainability. Running a sustainable household includes thinking about the type and amount of resources used, and how to dispose of them. This study explores the extent to which Guelph residents are aware of and practice sustainability in their homes. 89 participants were recruited for this study. 55 participants had been a part of the Home Tune-up study, a program which maximizes resource efficiency. The remaining 34 participants were recruited from the Pine Ridge/ Westminster, St. George's/ St. Patrick's, and Grange Road communities. Participants were 18 years and older; 66% female and 44% male; and were mostly homeowners (72%). Students of the Qualitative and Observational Methods course at the University of Guelph conducted 85 interviews. Major barriers to household sustainability were the lack of time for families to implement conservation measures, as well as a consumer culture that promotes a life of comfort and convenience. Key facilitators included previous and current exposure to a culture of conservation, and the notion of Guelph being socially and economically green. Further, an ability to maintain both individual agency and the household's social structure were deemed foundational to the longevity of conservation measures. Findings will be used to develop initiatives to support household sustainability across the city.