Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental and Energy Policy (PhD)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Chelsea Schelly

Committee Member 1

Kathleen E. Halvorsen

Committee Member 2

Kristin Floress

Committee Member 3

David Watkins


This dissertation addresses household consumption by advancing understandings of complex material, social, and regulatory structures that have a bearing on the future of sustainable and resilient practices at the residential scale in the United States. Interviews with 44 households in the U.S. were conducted to learn about perceptions of food, energy, and water consumption. Chapters two, three, and four utilize grounded theory and theories of practice. This inquiry yielded insights into social dynamics of household consumption, how human and more-than-human actors influence each other’s consumption, and how infrastructure and social class are interrelated. Chapter five is a policy maker’s guidebook, inspired by the interviews, to help small municipalities adopt ordinances that encourage sustainable practices on residential properties and to improve household consumption. The results of this research have implications for recognizing, shifting, and developing new sustainable and resilient practices in households.