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Characterization of household energy consumption in Sweden: energy savings potential and feedback approaches
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology. (MERO)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5277-4567
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Energy consumption is on a constant rise with domestic use contributing substantially to the overall consumption. The population growth along with ever increasing comfort levels and daily appliance usage are driving the domestic electricity demand to higher levels. Targeting domestic consumption is thus of great importance if global consumption is to be lowered. This involves understanding and changing consumers’ behaviour, awareness and increasing their knowledge on the subject of energy use.

In this thesis various factors determining household energy consumption such as dwelling size, income and number of occupants have been found alongside consumer behaviour to influence consumption the most.

Energy awareness, related interest and knowledge have also been considered when trying to explain differences in household consumption patterns.

Despite all possible characteristics and factors, the largest differences in energy consumption are found between individual households.

Providing feedback and information to households has been proven effective when addressing the issue of reducing domestic energy use. In this thesis, the effectiveness of three of the most popular ways of currently delivering feedback and information on energy consumption (displays, websites and bills) have been investigated by analyzing consumption patterns before and after their implementation. Consumers living in apartments that followed their consumption through the web based feedback were the ones that achieved the greatest electricity reductions (17,5%) when compared to the years before the website.

In order to provide effective feedback, with long lasting results that would keep consumers interested, several parameters have been proposed to be included when developing feedback and information. The type of dwelling (house or apartment), the age of the occupants, their level of education, income and their energy awareness and interest are the main determinants of feedback preferences.

The findings presented in this thesis contribute to a better understanding of households’ energy consumption patterns closely related to their characteristics, behaviour, interest and awareness, and also provide ways of improving the development of consumption feedback and information.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Mälardalen University , 2012.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 129
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14865ISBN: 978-91-7485-077-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-14865DiVA: diva2:536634
Public defence
2012-09-12, Lambda, Mälardalens högskola, Västerås, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2012-06-25 Created: 2012-06-23 Last updated: 2013-12-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Economical savings through lowering energy consumption in rented apartments: A case study in Västerås area
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Economical savings through lowering energy consumption in rented apartments: A case study in Västerås area
2008 (English)In: Journal of Numerical and Applied Mathematics, ISSN 0868-6912, Vol. 96, no 1, 234-245 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Electricity and heat consumption were recorded for 24 apartments distributed in two buildings over a 2-year monitoring period. The consumption of different built-form groups (according to their floor area) is also investigated. In general buildings located in Västerås (Sweden) are characterized by the fact that energy costs are included in the rent and therefore tenants are not encouraged to save energy. Data obtained from the company renting out apartments, Mimer was analyzed in order to find out if there were any general trends describing the connection between energy use, the level of surface area and number of rooms, or the main driving force behind is the individual behaviour of tenants (since in these two buildings tenants pay themselves for the total energy consumption). It was found that the analysis by various parameters is as important as analysis of each individual apartment. Some tendencies were well defined such as increase of total electricity consumption during the winter months and lowest both electricity and hot water consumption in June and July. The number of rooms at equal surface area could not be accepted as a pattern of electricity consumption. Bearing in mind the interactive contact between the energy distributor companies and the respective tenants, a positive trend of lowering both studied parameters was well manifested when a comparison of data obtained during 2005 and 2006 was carried out. This study shows that the economical savings for both buildings for the period 2005-2006, are 8000 SEK for electricity and 2300 SEK for district heating. Further improvements in company-tenants relations in terms of more detailed mutual information would probably change tenants’ behaviour thus improving energy and economic saving tendency in both buildings. We strongly believe that similar research approaches should be further included in larger programmes aimed at developing efficiency measures to quantify energy savings advantages in economic terms. Therefore, it would be economically reasonable for owners and housing promoters to invest in energy-saving measures.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Kiev: Kievs nationella Universitet, 2008
Keyword
applied mathematics, energy saving(s), utilization, apartments
National Category
Computational Mathematics
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-8035 (URN)
Projects
STEM Energy savings in apartments
Available from: 2010-02-11 Created: 2010-02-11 Last updated: 2015-06-26Bibliographically approved
2. Efficiency of interactive information on energy consumption in households in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Efficiency of interactive information on energy consumption in households in Sweden
2009 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Measurements of electricity, hot water consumption and indoor temperatures were carried out in 24 apartments during the years 2005 and 2006. Buildings located in Västerås (Sweden) are characterized by the fact that energy costs are included in the rent. Data obtained from the company renting out apartments, “MIMER”, was analyzed in order to find out if there were any general trends describing the connection between the level of surface area, number of rooms, or the main driving force behind is the individual behaviour of tenants. It was found that the analysis by various parameters is as important as the analysis of each individual apartment. Some tendencies were well defined such as increase of total electricity consumption during the winter months and lowest both electricity and hot water consumption in June and July. The number of rooms at equal surface area could not be accepted as a pattern of electricity consumption. Bearing in mind the interactive contact between the energy company and the respective tenants, a positive trend of lowering both studied parameters was well manifested when a comparison of data obtained during 2005 and 2006 was carried out. Our results confirmed the importance of indoor temperature measurements as well. Further improvements in company-tenants relations in terms of more detailed mutual information would probably change tenants’ behaviour thus improving energy saving tendency in both buildings.

Keyword
Residential buildings; Energy consumption; Interactive information; Energy savings.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-7519 (URN)
Conference
ICAE09 - International Conference on Applied Energy, Hong Kong
Available from: 2009-11-19 Created: 2009-11-19 Last updated: 2013-12-03
3. Analytical comparison between electricity consumption and behavior characteristics of Swedish households in rented apartments
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Analytical comparison between electricity consumption and behavior characteristics of Swedish households in rented apartments
2012 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 90, no SI, 182-188 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sufficient data of electricity consumption during large periods of time are accumulated and analyzed in order to develop appropriate electricity-saving measures. An important first step is to analyze and identify buildings/households that have an energy saving potential. In this work an evaluation of monthly electricity consumption data was conducted in identical buildings in the city of Vasteras in Sweden. Different behavioral consumption profiles have been analyzed using information from two sources: technical data of electricity consumption and behavioral parameters for each household obtained from a questionnaire survey. The questionnaire was formed by three groups of questions which concerned residents' characteristics, type and usage of electrical appliances, and attitudes towards energy consumption. The results show that electricity consumption profile of individual household can be mostly related to a given parameter. For example, the total household's income resulted one of the important factors determining the consumer behavior and as a rule is related to higher electricity consumption. Another important conclusion of our questionnaire-based analysis is the necessity for more detailed information about household/tenants behavior specifying the technical features of appliances for a given household.

National Category
Engineering and Technology Energy Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14861 (URN)10.1016/j.apenergy.2011.05.031 (DOI)000297426100028 ()2-s2.0-80055056024 (Scopus ID)
Conference
International Conference on Applied Energy (ICAE) on Energy Solutions for a Sustainable World Location: Singapore, SINGAPORE Date: APR 21-23, 2010
Available from: 2012-06-23 Created: 2012-06-23 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
4. Understanding energy consumption behavior for future demand response strategy development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding energy consumption behavior for future demand response strategy development
2012 (English)In: Energy, ISSN 0360-5442, E-ISSN 1873-6785, Vol. 46, no 1, 94-100 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Encouraging consumers to use less electricity through information is essential for sustainable use of energy and demand response is indeed a key component of the smart grids concept. The aim with this study is to understand differences between consumer categories and what this could mean e.g. to develop effective demand response measures. In-depth analyses of answers from a questionnaire sent out to 2000 households, contribute to a better understanding of Swedish households' energy related behavior. The households have been provided with a web-site enabling them to check their daily electricity consumption compared to previous months/years and even get advice and tips on how to reduce electricity consumption. The results show clear differences in the response rates from different type of residence, different income areas of the city and in the most preferred ways of receiving information-feedback. The web based feedback, provided by the local energy company, received more visits (and more frequently) from respondents living in houses than from apartments.

The analysis of the answers raises questions about the effectiveness of using only one tool of providing energy consumption information to the customers (web-site, in this case) and stresses the importance of applying an individual approach to different energy users.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14862 (URN)10.1016/j.energy.2012.02.069 (DOI)000311873700012 ()2-s2.0-84867232870 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2012-06-23 Created: 2012-06-23 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
5. Household indicators for developing innovative feedback technologies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Household indicators for developing innovative feedback technologies
Show others...
2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Numerous studies have shown that households' consumption is an important part of the total energy consumed in different countries. However, there is very little work done on finding appropriate strategies of giving households' effective feedback on their energy consumption. This study analyzes several indicators that could be considered before analyzing residential overall energy consumption and providing information, feedback, or developing demand-response measures. A questionnaire sent out to 2000 households having 33% response rate shows that the total households' income and characteristics, occupants' age and users' energy attitudes and interest are the key components designing relevant energy information strategies

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14863 (URN)10.1109/ISGTEurope.2011.6162715 (DOI)2-s2.0-84860712623 (Scopus ID)978-145771421-4 (ISBN)
Conference
Innovative Smart Grid Technologies (ISGT Europe). 2011 2nd IEEE PES International Conference and Exhibition on Innovative Smart Grid Technologies, ISGT Europe 2011
Available from: 2012-06-23 Created: 2012-06-23 Last updated: 2014-05-19Bibliographically approved
6. The impact of consumers' feedback preferences on domestic electricity consumption
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The impact of consumers' feedback preferences on domestic electricity consumption
2012 (English)In: Applied Energy, ISSN 0306-2619, E-ISSN 1872-9118, Vol. 93, no SI, 575-582 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite all initiatives introduced for maximizing energy savings domestic energy consumption is in constant increase. However, very little investigation has been carried out on the integration of household' consumption trends, the parameters influencing them and the characteristics of the provided feedback. 2000 Swedish households were included in this study. Electricity consumption data for apartments and houses has been analyzed for a 4 year period as well as possible household socio-economic factors affecting it. The data has been further compared to other households located in different cities in Sweden. The effects of the different ways of presenting feedback used for the different households groups have also been evaluated. From the results obtained from the questionnaire used, several households' characteristics were proposed together with consumers' preferences to be considered during the development of feedback. Web based feedback resulted in being the most effective (when compared to display and bills), achieving electricity savings of approximately 15% within households that visited the web-site. The monthly income is amongst the most influential factors determining electricity consumption although only in high and low income groups

National Category
Engineering and Technology Energy Engineering
Research subject
Energy- and Environmental Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14864 (URN)10.1016/j.apenergy.2011.12.067 (DOI)000302836500068 ()2-s2.0-84857995866 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2012-06-23 Created: 2012-06-23 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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Output format
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