Modeling of end-use energy consumption in the residential sector: A review of modeling techniques

Lukas G. Swan
V. Ismet Ugursal
Economics and Financing
Urban Areas

There is a growing interest in reducing energy consumption and the associated greenhouse gas emissions in every sector of the economy. The residential sector is a substantial consumer of energy in every country, and therefore a focus for energy consumption efforts. Since the energy consumption characteristics of the residential sector are complex and inter-related, comprehensive models are needed to assess the technoeconomic impacts of adopting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies suitable for residential applications.
The aim of this paper is to provide an up-to-date review of the various modeling techniques used for modeling residential sector energy consumption. Two distinct approaches are identified: top-down and bottom-up. The top-down approach treats the residential sector as an energy sink and is not concerned with individual end-uses. It utilizes historic aggregate energy values and regresses the energy consumption of the housing stock as a function of top-level variables such as macroeconomic indicators (e.g. gross domestic product, unemployment, and inflation), energy price, and general climate. The bottom-up approach extrapolates the estimated energy consumption of a representative set of individual houses to regional and national levels, and consists of two distinct methodologies: the statistical method and the engineering method.
Each technique relies on different levels of input information, different calculation or simulation techniques, and provides results with different applicability. A critical review of each technique, focusing on the strengths, shortcomings and purposes, is provided along with a review of models reported in the literature.
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