An investigation of the socio-economic, technical and appliance related factors affecting high electrical energy demand in UK homes
2014-04-14T10:29:17Z (GMT) by
The amount of electricity used in individual UK homes varies considerably. Previous UK energy research has identified that high electricity consuming homes not only use more electricity, compared with others, but appear to be consuming even more electricity over time. Furthermore, there is additional evidence which shows that high consuming dwellings also have a greater potential to make energy savings than those who consume less. It has been suggested that future UK energy policy might focus on reducing the demand of high electricity consumers in order to reduce overall CO2 emissions. Therefore, understanding what drives high usage in domestic buildings is essential to support informed decisions. This thesis asserts that to improve knowledge and understanding of the factors affecting high electrical energy consumption in UK domestic buildings, it is necessary to combine an analysis of the occupants socio-economic characteristics, dwelling technical characteristics and appliance related aspects, with detailed monitoring of the ownership, power demand and occupants use of electrical appliances. Using a sample of 315 UK homes, the influence of socio-economic, technical and appliance related characteristics on the probability of a household being a high electrical energy consumer was investigated (Odds ratio analysis). Detailed appliance monitoring data was collected from 27 UK homes to establish the contributions of appliance ownership, power demand and use to high electrical energy demand (Appliance Electricity Use Survey). The current research found similar skewed electricity distributions towards high electricity consumers for both the 315 and 27 home cohorts. Conflicting results were however obtained from the two household samples with regard to whether high electricity consumers are increasing electrical energy demand over time. The results of the odds ratio analysis and Appliance Electricity Use Survey suggest that high electricity consumption in domestic buildings is related to a combination of the socio-economic characteristics of the building occupants, technical characteristics of the dwelling and the ownership, power demand and use of electrical appliances.