An Empirical Assessment to Express the Variability of Buildings' Energy Consumption

An Empirical Assessment to Express the Variability of Buildings' Energy Consumption

Eva Maleviti (Department of Civil Structure Works, Technical Institute of Trikala, Trikala, Greece & TEI of Larissa, Larissa, Greece), Walter Wehrmeyer (Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK) and Yacob Mulugetta (Centre for Environmental Strategy, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/ijeoe.2013070104
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This paper presents the key findings of a study conducted in Greek hotels. Energy audits were carried out in 43 cases across Greece. The different technical characteristics of each building have a different effect in the total final energy consumption. The findings of this research showed the variable that is the most statistically significant among the selected sample to be used for analyzing further the data. This study showed that this process is necessary to be used as a preliminary step in any type of energy forecasting, since it would define the most appropriate expression to be used for improving the building’s energy performance and reducing their energy consumption. The statistical analysis is very important at that stage since energy is expressed differently, such as kWh/m2 or kWh/person, or kWh. In this particular research, the statistical analysis defines the expression that is more statistically valid to be used in further analysis of the energy data, providing also significant literature about the importance and role of statistical tests.
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One of the main sectors with the highest energy consumption is the building sector, including residential and commercial sectors. Almost 30% of the total GHG emissions derive from the use of fossil fuels during the buildings’ operational phase (United Nations, 2007). It would be expected that decision makers would address the issue by incorporating emissions from buildings within a global strategy on climate change. This was actually included within the Kyoto Protocol, which triggered to the development of several Action Plans and Regulations across different regions. Since the Kyoto Protocol is due to end in 2012, it was hoped that a similar framework would be developed after 2012. This was the purpose of the UN Convention of Parties 15 (COP-15) gathering in Copenhagen in December 2009. However, despite the importance of agreeing a global framework for climate change, COP-15 did not give any fruitful results or targets for countries to commit to reduce their GHG emissions.

The framework considered in this project is the EU Action Plan for Energy Efficiency, which is valid until 2020 and the EU Directives included in it since it is crucial to develop an energy strategy and framework for mitigation of GHG emissions in buildings, according to the International Energy Agency (2005), the building sector is responsible for 40% of the total primary energy consumption in the world, same 2500 Mtoe (United Nations, 2007). Energy consumption in buildings is shaped by the buildings’ operations, the country where they are located (HM Treasury, 2005) along with the level of efficiency of the current building stocks and the nature of energy efficiency standards (United Nations, 2007). In OECD countries, the residential and commercial sectors are responsible for 30% of the total primary energy consumption and for almost 30% of the greenhouse gases emitted from these countries (OECD, 2003; OECD, 2009). In addition, the energy consumption in the building sector of these countries, has had a continuous growth since the 1960s and is still increasing. Buildings’ energy use in OECD countries is mainly attributed to electricity, oil and natural gas usage. As shown in Figure 1, there are differences in energy use in buildings varying among countries. Economies in transition cover their buildings’ energy demands by using mainly natural gas and fossil fuels for district heating; while the share of renewable energy sources is low. The picture is very different for developing countries where energy needs in buildings are deriving from biomass and specifically wood, crop waste and animal wastes. The continued use of biomass for household energy needs has its problems too. The use of wood biomass, results in deforestation and desertification and reduces the capacity of existing carbon sinks to absorb CO2 emissions (International Energy Agency, 2006). Furthermore, in developing countries, kerosene and paraffin are used for lighting but they represent a small share of coal and oil products (United Nations, 2007).

Figure 1.

Share of final energy consumption for residential and non-residential buildings by fuels. Source: IEA, 2006; Stern, 2005.

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