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Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Single Family Homes’ Electricity Consumption in the Rural Iowa

EasyChair Preprint no. 8302, version 2

Versions: 12history
10 pagesDate: July 2, 2022


The COVID-19 pandemic and its associated lockdown have caused significant changes in lifestyle all around the globe. The combined effect of business and school closures as well as restrictions on travel during this period introduced unprecedented changes in occupancy presence and behavioral patterns in buildings. Electricity consumption in residential buildings can be affected by such changes in occupancy. However, the majority of the research activities which have attempted to quantify the aforementioned impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown on electricity consumption have been at the grid level; there have been limited efforts to study the impact of the pandemic on electricity consumption at the building level. Moreover, even fewer studies have focused on analyzing the change in electricity consumption patterns in rural residential buildings. Accordingly, in this study, electricity consumption data from more than 9,000 detached single-family homes in Cedar Falls, Iowa during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020) are compared against corresponding calendar normalize electricity consumption data for prior years (2010-2016). These comparisons support an improved understanding and quantification of how the lockdown during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic affected the electricity use patterns of residential energy users in the rural Iowa. This study’s findings show that 54% of buildings in our database had a significant change in their non-weather-related consumption in 2020 when compared to previous years. From these, 62% of homes decreased in consumption, and 38% increased consumption. Those with increased consumption increased by a larger amount on average. The magnitude of changes in electricity consumption in this dataset was also found to be impacted by certain housing characteristics such as building size, vintage, and number of bedrooms. Accordingly, larger and newer homes were less impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as compared to the rest of the building stock.

Keyphrases: COVID-19 pandemic, energy use, residential buildings

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Brady Berg and Diba Malekpour Koupaei and Kristen Cetin and Ulrike Passe},
  title = {Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Single Family Homes’ Electricity Consumption in the Rural Iowa},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 8302},

  year = {EasyChair, 2022}}
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