Back to top

Actual and theoretical gas consumption in Dutch dwellings: What causes the differences?


Energy labels in buildings are awarded based on theoretical gas and electricity consumption based on dwelling's physical characteristics. Prior to this research, a large-scale study was conducted in The Netherlands comparing theoretical energy use with data on actual energy use revealing substantial discrepancies (Majcen et al., 2013). This study uses identical energy label data, supplemented with additional data sources in order to reveal how different parameters influence theoretical and actual consumptions gas and electricity. Analysis is conducted through descriptive statistics and regression analysis. Regression analysis explained far less of the variation in the actual consumption than in the theoretical and has shown that variables such as floor area, ownership type, salary and the value of the house, which predicted a high degree of change in actual gas consumption, were insignificant (ownership, salary, value) or had a minor impact on theoretical consumption (floor area). Since some possibly fundamental variables were unavailable for regression analysis, we also conducted a sensitivity study of theoretical gas consumption. It showed that average indoor temperature, ventilation rate and accuracy of U-value have a large influence on the theoretical gas consumption; whereas the number of occupants and internal heat load have a rather limited impact.