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Survey study on energy use in UK homes during Covid-19

27 December, 2021

Survey study on energy use in UK homes during Covid-19

Gesche Huebner

Kenan Direk

Frances Hollick

Tadj Oreszczyn

Research paper   Buildings & Energy

Gesche Huebner, Nicole Watson, Kenan Direk, Eoghan McKenna, Ellen Webborn, Frances Hollick, Simon Elam and Tadj Oreszczyn


To contain the spread of Covid-19, governments across the world imposed partial or complete lockdowns. National energy demand decreased in periods of lockdowns; however, as people spent more time at home, residential energy use likely increased. This paper reports the results of a UK survey study (N = 1016 participants) about their energy-use practices during the first lockdown in March 2020. The results indicated that self-reported heating behaviours did not substantially change during lockdown. Regarding appliance use, in particular the duration of usage for televisions and computing equipment has increased and has spread more over the day. Being less able to manage financially was correlated with a greater usage of the smart meter in-home display and a greater attempt to save energy was positively correlated with greater usage of the in-home display, though correlations were small. In summary, the results indicate that home energy-use behaviours, in particular around heating, did not change as much as might have been expected, which might at least partly be explained by the comparatively warm weather during the first lockdown. Corroborating the survey findings with actual energy data is the next essential step to understand findings in more detail.

Publication details

Huebner, G.M., Watson, N.E., Direk, K., McKenna, E., Webborn, E., Hollick, F., Elam, S. and Oreszczyn, T. 2021. Survey study on energy use in UK homes during Covid-19. Buildings and Cities, 2(1), 952–969. doi: 10.5334/bc.162Opens in a new tab 

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