Holistic Building Technology Selection for Sustainability: A Market Analysis and Multi-Attribute Decision Making Approach for Residential Water Heaters in U.S.
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Water heating in the United States has the largest energy consumption of any residential related use. It uses more energy than all other home appliances combined. They have also been implicated as the source of waterborne disease outbreaks. With such high stakes, it is recommended that a Decision Support Tool (DST) be used prior to selection of a water heater for new construction or replacement. Although there are numerous tools available, it is challenging to find a tool that takes into account all factors critical to the selection of water heaters, addresses gaps and barriers, provides adequate information to all stakeholders and finally, assists in rational decision making towards more sustainable choices. The purpose of this research is threefold: (a) to inventory, organize and characterize web-based existing water heater Decision Support Tools (eDSTs) to highlight gaps and/or shortcomings; (b) to develop a Decision Support Tool Skeleton (DSTS) containing a comprehensive list of sustainability capital, criteria and indicators based on Multi-Attribute Decision Making (MADM) approach; (c) to create a stakeholder map comprising supply chain, stakeholder system, decision making process during water heater selections as well as other market factors, using metasynthesis of collected documents. The findings of this research indicate that considerable gaps and shortcomings exist in the current pool of water heater DSTs. To address these barriers, information was captured from various documents in a process of qualitative data analysis called coding. The coding process generated attributes which were used to generate a comprehensive set of capital, criteria, subcriteria and indicators using MADM approach. This organizing structure developed on lines of sustainability assessment will serve as a starting point towards achieving global sustainability in real life. Importantly, information asymmetry between various stakeholders is evidence of the fact that the existing tools are not addressed in an equitable manner. This study will help determine the stakeholder system and the decision making process for selection of water heaters in the residential sector, so as to effectively implement new tools being created.
- Masters Theses