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Survey of Household Energy Use in a Toronto Rental High-rise Multi-unit Residential Building (MURB)
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1  Ryerson University

Published: 23 October 2012 by MDPI in The 2nd World Sustainability Forum session Related Topics
Abstract: This paper discusses occupant\'s household energy use, behaviour and satisfaction in one of Toronto\'s rental high-rise multi-unit residential building (MURB). A survey was conducted between April 8 and May 5 2012 with a sample population of 49 residents. The survey consisted of 51 questions about occupant\'s characteristics, appliance and electrical types and usage, heating and cooling equipment, water use, lighting fixtures and usage, indoor environment, thermal comfort, and their lifestyle. Results show that the surveyed population\'s socio-demographics in this paper are similar to occupant predictor trends of household energy use behaviour found in literature. Amongst the surveyed households, for example, older-aged respondents were found to spend more time using their appliances per day and also owning older appliances/devices. Male respondents were found to own and use their appliances/electrical devices more than female respondents as well. Lastly, a similar trend was found for respondents with a longer residency in the building. A comparison analyses between the survey results and a Canadian national household energy use for high-rise apartment dwellings found in Natural Resources Canada\'s survey, SHEU 2007, were also conducted. This survey found that the surveyed respondents are well below the national average on ownership and usage of appliances and electrical devices. Lastly, a correlation analyses showed that seasonal temperature satisfaction within respondent\'s apartment unit is strongly correlated with respondent\'s thermal comfort; for example, satisfaction of the apartment unit temperatures during the summer and how the temperature enhances their thermal comfort was found to have a r= 0.86, p< 0.01. The survey also found that the respondents were dissatisfied with the summer temperatures of their apartment unit compared to the winter temperatures. These results suggest that specific demographics (e.g. males, older-aged, or longer residency respondents) own or use their appliances compared to other occupant characteristics. Furthermore, indoor environment satisfaction can be improved by temperature adjustments within respondent\'s apartment units during the summer. This survey identifies opportunities for improving resident\'s indoor environment satisfaction and household energy use. The concept of tenant engagement and education strategies can further facilitate similar analysis by comparing the energy use and behaviour before and after implemented strategies. Further analysis can also be conducted by assessing respondent\'s survey results to their energy consumption.
Keywords: Household energy use, Multi-unit residential buildings, energy behaviour