Metrics matter: An integrated approach for analyzing household electricity consumption and the potential for conservation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The residential building sector accounts for a significant portion of global energy consumption, necessitating energy-efficient building practices to mitigate climate change. The metric most used in legislation and building codes to promote energy conservation is Energy Use Intensity (EUI). The efficacy of such regulation is often taken for granted, but as this study of a representative sample of over 800 households in Israel demonstrates, energy 'efficiency' is not necessarily translated into lower total consumption. Multiple linear regression and path analysis were employed to identify significant direct and indirect factors shaping electricity consumption measured for the first time by all three metrics: total consumption, per capita consumption, and EUI. Factors considered included building properties as well as occupant demographic characteristics, environmental awareness, and lifestyles. The factors found to be of greatest importance were, in descending order, house floor area, number of occupants, and building type (detached single-family or multi-family apartment). Other factors, including income, were shown to have an indirect effect. EUI was found to be an ineffective metric, because it allows greater consumption in larger apartments with the same efficiency rating for climatization as smaller but otherwise similar ones. In our sample, EUI for climatization decreased by about 0.14 kWh/m2/year for every 1 m2 increase in floor area. To address this, the research proposes implementing stricter efficiency requirements for large and detached houses based on a novel 'size-normalized EUI'. In addition, to promote behavior change in a socially equitable way the paper proposes the introduction of tiered electricity bills based on consumption levels adjusted for the number of household occupants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113851
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Volume307
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • Conservation
  • EUI
  • Household electricity consumption
  • Policy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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