User's Influence on Energy Consumption with Cooking Systems Using Electricity
DeMerchant, Elizabeth Ann
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(ABSTRACT) The research purpose was to explain the user's influence on energy consumption with cooking systems using electricity. This research was conducted in two phases. The research objective of Phase I was to determine if relationships exist that explain the user's influence (i.e., user characteristics--knowledge, experience, practices, and user interaction--and appliance operating time) on the energy consumption of cooking systems using electricity. The ultimate aim of this research, the outcome of Phase II, was to identify categories of cooking style that explain the user's influence (i.e., user characteristics and appliance operating time) on energy consumption of cooking systems using electricity. The data used to answer the research question consisted of video tapes of consumers preparing the research menu, a survey, and data recorded on a data collection sheet by the researcher (i.e., watthour consumption). Simultaneous triangulation was used to answer the research questions. Phase I determined that energy consumption was correlated with knowledge, user interaction, practices, appliance operating time, cooking system interaction, goodness-of-fit, information, behavior, the user, and statistical interaction between the cooking system and goodness-of-fit. Independent variables explained 38.6% of the variation in energy consumption. However, when only the variables under the user's control were included in the regression model, just 25% of the variation in energy consumption was explained. Phase II determined the three most important factors that distinguish the five cooking style categories based on user characteristics (i.e., patient style, average style, uninformed style, hurried style, and hurried style with no control) were: (a) percentage of the sample that left the heat source on after cooking, (b) percentage of the sample that did not match the diameter of the heat source and the diameter of the cookware when using high heat, and (c) percentage of the sample that fried using high heat. Additional variables that differed among categories were: reusing hot elements, use of retained heat, and use of medium heat settings. In summary, important factors in explaining variations in energy consumption include: inherent characteristics of the cooking system, user's knowledge, highest heat setting selected and matching the diameter of the heat source with the cookware diameter, leaving the heat source on after cooking, and selecting highest heat setting when frying. Three categories of consumers cooking style were developed (i.e., low, average, high energy consumption) to summarize the data. The highest heat setting selected and leaving the heat source on after cooking was completed were factors that distinguished consumers among the three categories.
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