Browsing Electronic Theses & Dissertations by Author "Boadu, Andrea N.Y.A Ofori"
The impact of state energy programs and other contextual factors on US buildings energy comsumption.Boadu, Andrea N.Y.A Ofori (2012-05-18)High energy consumption in the United States has been influenced by populations, climates, income and other contextual factors. In the past decades, U.S. energy policies have pursued energy efficiency as a national strategy for reducing U.S. environmental degradation and dependence on foreign oils. The quest for improved energy efficiency has led to the development of energy efficient technologies and programs. The implementation of energy programs in the complex U.S. socio-technical environment is believed to promote the diffusion of energy efficiency technologies. However, opponents doubt the fact that these programs have the capacity to significantly reduce U.S. energy consumption. In order to contribute to the ongoing discussion, this quantitative study investigated the relationships existing among electricity consumption/ intensity, energy programs and contextual factors in the U.S. buildings sector. Specifically, this study sought to identify the significant predictors of electricity consumption and intensity, as well as estimate the overall impact of selected energy programs on electricity consumption and intensity. Using state-level secondary data for 51 U.S. states from 2006 to 2009, seven random effects panel data regression models confirmed the existence of significant relationships among some energy programs, contextual factors, and electricity consumption/intensity. The most significant predictors of improved electricity efficiency included the price of electricity, public benefits funds program, building energy codes program,financial and informational incentives program and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Consistently, the Southern region of the U.S. was associated with high electricity consumption and intensity; while the U.S. commercial sector was the greater benefactor from energy programs. On the average, energy programs were responsible for approximately 7% of the variation observed in electricity consumption and intensity, over and above the variation associated with the contextual factors. This study also had implications in program implementation theory, and revealed that resource availability, stringency and adherence had significant impacts on program outcomes. Using seven classification tables, this study categorized and matched the predictors of electricity consumption and intensity with the specific energy sectors in which they demonstrated statistical significance. Project developers, energy advocates, policy makers, program administrators, building occupants and other stakeholders could use study findings in conjunction with other empirical findings, to make informed decisions regarding the adoption, continuation or discontinuation of energy programs, while taking contextual factors into consideration. The adoption and efficient implementation of the most significant programs could reduce U.S. electricity consumption, and in the long term, possibly reduce U.S. energy waste, environmental degradation, energy imports, energy prices, and demands for expanding energy generation and distribution infrastructure.