In 2020, our research shows that COVID-19 khóa significant increase in electricity usage in New York City apartments. How has that energy balance changed as we’ve transitioned to the “new normal?” Our latest results show that home electricity use is still higher than it was before the pandemic — possibly because work-from-home arrangements are maintained — but New Yorkers have switched back to their morning routine. Soon.
Our findings are based on Multi-family residential electrical data set (MFRED), a public database that tracks electricity usage in 390 Manhattan apartments. MFRED doesn’t just track how much electricity we used, but also for the type of use (e.g. space heater vs electronics).
How does COVID affect households? Power consumption different for different times of the day and of the year. In this analysis, we specifically looked at daily consumption patterns on the weekdays from April 1 to 28, 2019 (as a pre-COVID baseline), 2020 (immediately after). lockdown begins in Manhattan), 2021 and 2022. We chose April for this analysis because, during a critical season, the impact of changing weather on electricity use is minimized, due to that more clearly reveals the effects we’re interested in.
As early as April 2020, just weeks after the lockdown went into effect in Manhattan, we’ve observed a 50% increase in the number of vacant apartments based on their consumption patterns. This reflects the fact that, in the early stages of the pandemic, many lucky people were able to leave apartment in Manhattan did just that. To overcome this consequence in subsequent analyses, we removed vacant apartments from our analysis (9% apartments in 2019, 15% in 2020, 12% and 9% in 2021). and 2022, respectively).
Next, we isolate any general power consumption trends unrelated to COVID. For example, at 10 p.m.—when most people are at home regardless of stay-at-home orders but often stay awake to use the lights—we observed a small but systematic decrease use energy from 2019 to 2022, an average of 17 watts per year (3.7% of the 2019 baseline). Here downtrend may be related to changes in energy efficiency: if each flat is replaced every year only one of Incandescent bulbs for example with an LED this will result in energy saving we observe.
In the case of the specific apartments in our dataset, some of the downtrends may actually be due to deliberate interventions: As part of a research project led by the US Department of Energy Funding period since 2016, about 1/5 of our 390 apartments in the dataset have received a new form of ecological feedback: email notifications that provide residents with personalized information on how their consumption compares to their neighbors, how this affects the environment, as well as tips and tricks on how to save.
After normalizing to this trend, total average daily electricity consumption in April 2020 increased 11% from baseline in 2019, increased 9% in 2021 and still increased by 7% in 2022. In addition, the load at noon is 26%, 24% and 12% higher than the 2019 base rate for 2020, 2021 and 2022, respectively. This shows a sustained trend towards increased work from home even two years after COVID first hit.
This is suitable for recent survey report that many Manhattan office workers still work mixed schedules. In line with the rise of work from home, 4 a.m. energy usage data (when loading from electronic devices in standby is most prominent) shows the growing contribution of computers, Wi-Fi routing, etc. to the overall household electricity consumption.
However, while the morning increase is at 7am in 2019, an hour later it is 8am in 2020 and 7:30am in 2021, in 2022 this increase has reverted back to normal. back to 7 a.m., the same as observed in 2019. It will therefore appear that the sustained trend towards increased work from home is not accompanied by a lasting change in waking patterns of households, possibly due to a combined work placement and return to school and on-site education.
While it is expected that the number of face-to-face employees will continue to increase in Manhattan and elsewhere, the work-from-home arrangement will increase energy costs for homes and many households. As we head into winter with the risk of rising heating costs, we need to be particularly concerned about any potential impact on already economically vulnerable households.
Earth Institute at Columbia University
This story is reprinted with permission from the Earth Institute, Columbia University http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu.
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