Life cycle energy and large and small housing in New Zealand

  • YEAR
    Khajehzadeh, Iman
    Vale, Brenda
    2015 Conference Papers
    Buildings and Energy
    Conference Papers


Overcrowding in houses is a known problem but in some developed countries like New Zealand a new phenomenon, here called “large housing” has appeared. From 1974 to 2011 the average new New Zealand house almost doubled in size while occupancy reduced in the same period. First studies indicate large houses include several bathrooms, double/triple garaging, extra bedrooms/living areas, specialized rooms, more fixed and moveable furniture and more appliances, and that people only spend 11% of daily time in these spaces, suggesting the resources associated with them are underused. This study aims to discover the energy embodied in these extra spaces and their fittings for couples living in different sized houses. The energy people use of living in different sized houses is also estimated over a life-cycle. The results indicate that house size is highly correlated with more embodied energy and people living in large houses use several times the life cycle energy of those in small houses. In addition, a great part of this energy is used in spaces correlated with 11% of a daily life. It seems housing decisions highly affect energy consumption. Indeed, for sustainable housing, human behaviour is as if not more, important than technical features.


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