CULTURAL IMPACTS ON OCCUPANT BEHAVIOUR AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Free (open access)
Volume 2 (2017), Issue 2
186 - 195
REBECCA K. DAVIDSON
Canadian cultural and consumer trends have established high household energy consumption rates, as compared to other first world nations. This study examines the correlation between cultural influence, occupant behaviour, and the resulting effectiveness of optional or mandatory energy efficiency strategies in Canadian homes. Energy efficiency has historically been approached from a design and construction perspective; however, monitoring and verification during a post-occupancy period has gone largely undocumented. Given the lack of data, the effectiveness of any policy or standard towards sustainability is difficult to quantify. In two case studies, located in Calgary, AB (Canada), the impacts of housing typology, construction methodology and occupant behaviour were researched to collect post-occupancy energy use data. The results of the first case study demonstrate a +300% variation in consumption rates when comparing same unit type, location, construction and solar photovoltaic array. A second case study examines a home designed to be Net-Zero Energy (NZE), which is coupled with renewable technology and subsequently monitored post-occupancy, then compared to modelled/ predicted loads. A third case, which strives to reduce both operational and embodied energy pre- and post-occupancy, is examined to illustrate the pre-occupancy energy required by various standard and alternative construction materials. This paper aims to provide context and validation of energy efficient design, construction, standards/codes, and in conjunction with occupant behaviour or cultural patterns of consumption. The results strive to identify which strategies may ultimately have more impact on national goals of energy efficiency and carbon reduction, and whether or not top down policy can be an effective way of managing energy use in households.
energy monitoring, energy policy, green building, Net-Zero Energy, occupant behaviour