Capturing Changes in Residential Occupant Behavior Due to Work from Home in Japan as a Consequence of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Takahiro Ueno*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Since there is a possibility that work from home will become one of the major working styles in the era of a new normal after the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary to examine an effect of work from home on life of residents at home and on energy consumption. Therefore, a web-based questionnaire survey was conducted at the end of October 2020 for households in which any of the family members was a work from home worker. In regard to the changes in life schedule, work from home helped 21.5% of respondents to sleep 30 min more or even longer. This shows that the loss of commuting time to work due to work from home improved the health of respondents in terms of sleep. In terms of the changes in energy consumption, more than a quarter of households experienced an increase in electricity consumption. Around 40~50% of households whose monthly electricity consumption increased from last year were not aware of the reasons for the increase or realized it for the first time when they answered the questionnaire survey. This indicates that feedback using home energy management systems, etc., play an important role in promoting energy-saving behavioral changes. An analysis of the causes of the increase in energy consumption by households reveals that the increase in hours of use of air-conditioners is significantly correlated with the increase in household electricity consumption in August (p = less than 0.01). The large-scale questionnaire survey on Japanese housing during the COVID-19 pandemic in this study elucidated that work from home as a countermeasure against COVID-19 infection affected the residents’ lives and the energy consumption of each household. This paper also showed the causes of the increase in household energy consumption and the importance of feedback, such as HEMS, in promoting energy-saving behavior. These results are expected to help to improve health of residents and energy saving in the era of a new normal.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2180
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Air-conditioners
  • Apartments
  • COVID-19
  • Detached houses
  • Electricity consumption
  • Work from home (WFH)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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