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Building vintage and electricity use: Old homes use less electricity in hot weather

  • Chong, Howard

This paper studies whether electricity use in newer or older residential buildings rises more in response to high temperature in a region of Southern California. Peak electricity demand occurs at the highest temperatures which are predicted to increase due to climate change. Understanding how newer buildings differ from older buildings improves forecasts of how peak electricity use will grow over time. Newer buildings are subject to stricter building energy codes, but are larger and more likely to have air conditioning; hence, the cumulative effect is ambiguous. This paper combines four large datasets of building and household characteristics, weather data, and utility data to estimate the electricity–temperature response of different building vintages. Estimation results show that new buildings (1970–2000) have a statistically significantly higher temperature response (i.e., use more electricity) than old buildings (pre1970). Auxiliary regressions with controls for tiered electricity prices, number of bedrooms, income, square footage, central air conditioning, ownership, and type of residential structure partially decompose the effect. Though California has had extensive energy efficiency building standards that by themselves would lower temperature response for new buildings, the cumulative effect of new buildings is an increase in temperature response. As new buildings are added, aggregate temperature response is predicted to increase.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 56 (2012)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 906-930

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:56:y:2012:i:5:p:906-930
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  1. Anin Aroonruengsawat & Maximilian Auffhammer, 2011. "Impacts of Climate Change on Residential Electricity Consumption: Evidence from Billing Data," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present, pages 311-342 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  3. Baxter, Lester W. & Calandri, Kevin, 1992. "Global warming and electricity demand : A study of California," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 233-244, March.
  4. A. Greening, Lorna & Greene, David L. & Difiglio, Carmen, 2000. "Energy efficiency and consumption -- the rebound effect -- a survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 389-401, June.
  5. Maximilian Auffhammer & Carl Blumstein & Meredith Fowlie, 2008. "Demand-Side Management and Energy Efficiency Revisited," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 91-104.
  6. Paul L. Joskow & Donald B. Marron, 1992. "What Does a Negawatt Really Cost? Evidence from Utility Conservation Programs," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 41-74.
  7. Marvin J. Horowitz, 2007. "Changes in Electricity Demand in the United States from the 1970s to 2003," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 93-120.
  8. David S. Loughran and Jonathan Kulick, 2004. "Demand-Side Management and Energy Efficiency in the United States," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 19-44.
  9. Larsen, Bodil Merethe & Nesbakken, Runa, 2004. "Household electricity end-use consumption: results from econometric and engineering models," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 179-200, March.
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