European Citizens, Carbon Footprints and Their Determinants—Lifestyles and Urban Form

  • Vera PetersEmail author
  • Fritz Reusswig
  • Corinna Altenburg
Part of the Springer Environmental Science and Engineering book series (SPRINGERENVIRON)


In this study we explore the differences between carbon footprints of private households across three European countries. The assessment of CO2 emissions for housing, mobility and food is based on a survey of 844 inhabitants of rural and urban areas in Scotland, Czech Republic and Germany. The relevance of urban form, household structure, socio-demographics and lifestyle characteristics is investigated in relation to area specific conditions that influence the energy demand but also determine its enviormental impact. We can see significant differences in the carbon footprint across the case studies, which can to a certain extend be related to varying income levels in Scotland, Czech Republic and Germany. But of course, there are other influencing factors on different levels: different structural factors, such as the respective energy mix of a country, the availability of district heating and eco-friendly products such as green electricity, the urban form and household structure. Without the support of the built environment and public institutions, it is mostly difficult for individual households to translate their pro-environmental preferences into real behavior, but the data also reveals that the actors’ environmental values do have a direct influence on the level of CO2 emissions in some areas like food and flight emissions.


Carbon footprints Energy Lifestyles Urban form 



We are very grateful to all our survey participants for their contributions to this study. Jan Vávra, Miloslav Lapka, Eva Cudlınová, Tony Craig, Carlos Galan-Diaz, Anke Fischer and Mirjam Neebe facilitated the data collection and/or contributed to the analysis. The study was funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme through the project GILDED (Governance, Infrastructure, Lifestyle Dynamics and Energy Demand; grant no. 225383).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vera Peters
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fritz Reusswig
    • 1
  • Corinna Altenburg
    • 2
  1. 1.Transdisciplinary Concepts & MethodsPotsdam Institute for Climate Impact ResearchPotsdamGermany
  2. 2. Management of Regional Energy SystemsUniversity of Applied Sciences LausitzSenftenbergGermany

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