Factors influencing energy consumption among moderately low income residents in multifamily rental apartments
Mosale Krishne Gowda, Achala Parameshwari
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Residential electricity consumption is responsible for approximately 30% of global electricity consumption. Further, residential electricity consumption in the United States of America is 25% of the total energy consumption in the United States. Hence the residential energy sector will play a critical role in the future of the electricity industry, especially given the increasing global demand for affordable electricity services, as well as the urgent need to reduce climate change emissions from the electricity sectors. Recent studies estimate that behavioral changes can reduce residential energy consumption by about 7.4%. So, by providing more detailed feedback to consumers about their energy usage at the appliance level can potentially encourage such behavioral changes. However, achieving a better understanding of the nature of household electricity consumption is challenging, due to the heterogeneity of the residential sector, the complexity of the under-lying drivers and the lack of comprehensive data. Relevant data includes household demographics, including occupant numbers, age distributions, and income; household behavior such as how often occupants use certain appliances and the interest and effort that they devote towards energy conservation; building types, such as the type of dwelling (free standing or unit), different appliance ownership and access to alternatives to electricity for some services such as gas for heating and cooking; and the climate zone of the households as well as the daily weather conditions. As explained before, the wide variation seen across all of these drivers’ leads to considerable differences in households’ electricity consumption. But data on these drivers is not always available. There has generally been only limited electricity consumption data available. Energy Conservation has become one of the first sustainability issues to be addressed through combination of national and local government policies. Human behavior is the major link to the environmental issues like global warming. Making domestic energy consumption visible to the end users has become more challenging due to metering methods. The only commonly visible record of consumption comes in the form of quarterly bills or monthly statements, by which time the links between specific activities and the energy consumed are severely dislocated, a situation described elsewhere as similar to a supermarket not displaying any individual product prices but merely providing the shopper with a total non-itemized bill at the checkout. Such issues create a negative effect on awareness towards sustainability. Many studies has proven that giving feedback on human behavior has significantly affected the energy consumption. To most consumers in developed countries, the fuel used within homes has become, to a large extent, an invisible resource. So, there should be some policy to guide consumers and to make them understand the importance of energy saving. Several test statistics procedures were performed to understand the relationship between residents’ behavior and energy consumption: Impact of indoor and outdoor temperature on energy consumption, Impact of residents’ behavior and awareness on energy consumption, and Impact of all variables in the study on energy consumption.