Occupants’ Behavior and Energy Usage in Emirati’s Individual Houses in Al Ain: Exploratory Investigation
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Existing buildings in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) account for over 65% of the total energy consumption, with the residential sector leading the way with around 40%. Further, the energy demand trend is expected to keep rising, confirming its threefold increase from 2000 to 2012. Factors such as population growth, economic development, the physical building characteristics, climate differentials, and occupants’ behavior have resulted in high-electricity demand, ranking the UAE as one of the highest energy consumptions per capita in the world. As a result, the UAE government has taken far-reaching actions to curb energy consumption. As such, building regulations and codes emerged as well as energy-saving media campaigns. While actions and studies are flourishing in terms of building energy efficiency, very little is known about occupants’ behavior and energy usage in their home, despite the vast body of literature acknowledging that occupants’ behavior is a driving factor in determining building energy consumption. Particularly in the UAE, there is evidence that the local Emirati population carries higher home energy usage than the expatriates. This paper reports on an exploratory qualitative study aimed to investigate first, nationals’ behavioral patterns and second, its consequent impact on energy consumption in their detached houses (villas) in the city of Al Ain (Abu Dhabi Emirate). The methodology is based on semi-structured interviews, addressing occupants’ daily energy usage patterns, cultural aspects and their awareness level of energy consumption in their homes. Housing data and electricity bills have also been considered. An exploratory pilot study with a small number of units was carried out in the month of June. This paper presents preliminary results of this investigation, expected to contribute to a better understanding of Emirati energy consumption patterns in relation to their culture, way of life, and potentially established appropriate venues to address energy use reduction in the residential sector of the UAE.
KeywordsOccupants’ behavior Household energy usage Villa United Arab Emirates
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