An Evaluation Approach of Socio Economic Factors Affecting Household Energy Consumption

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Residential energy consumption in the United States has been marked by a steady growth over the past decades, in spite of the implementation of various energy efficiency policies. To frame effective energy policies for the residential sector it is important to understand the cause and impact of factors affecting residential energy consumption. A vast majority of earlier research has explored the role of individual human factors that are responsible for the increase of household energy usage, whereas, a few studies have discussed the effect of standard-of-living and income on overall household energy consumption. However, there is a dearth of literature and research on plausible ways to modify and manipulate factors that influence household energy consumption. This paper builds on previous research by the authors that identified a list of factors affecting residential energy consumption and grouped them under five major categories, i.e. demographics, consumer attitude, economic variables, climate, and technology. The here presented investigation analyzes the root causes for each of the identified consumption factors such as household size, dwelling characteristics, etc. through Cause & Effect diagrams. Finally, all energy efficiency control elements under each of the energy consumption factors are generated and sorted using the Affinity Diagram method. Our research shows how the identified control elements govern energy consumption factors to a great extent. Ultimately these control elements will assist policy makers in ameliorating and targeting the most critical factors that will help to curb the increasing household energy consumption in the United States.