Date of Award
Kheira Anissa Tabet Aoul
The fast urbanization in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) accounts for 70% of energy consumption with the residential sector leading the way, urgently calling for mitigating strategies. Energy-efficient housing in hot climates has been extensively researched in terms of design, building materials and systems. However, an energy performance gap subsides as a direct result of occupants’ behaviour, catalyzing focused research. Moreover, understanding the housing occupants’ behaviour, motivation, and impetus to save energy proved to significantly increase energy savings. Exploring this topic in the UAE is vital given its distinctive specifics; fast-growing economy, harsh hot climate, and heterogeneous population. The latter presents major differences between local and expatriate residents, including energy tariffs, subsidies, home ownership, and cultural traits. Hence, this study aims to explore housing occupants’ motivational drivers to save energy and compare the motivational drivers among local and expatriate groups.
This exploratory qualitative study used semi-structured interviews developed from informal conversational interviews and tested through a pilot study. 32 housing occupants (14 locals and 18 expatriates) living in Al Ain, UAE, were interviewed. The thematic analysis revealed that motivation is bound by two antagonistic elements: motivational drivers and obstacles. The literature compliant findings reveal that housing occupants’ motivation to save energy is influenced by a combination of local policies and cognitive, emotional, contextual social and cultural factors. Homeownership, incentives, and energy costs were found to be the main motivational drivers for local occupants, whereas social influence, ambient culture and house size acted as obstacles. On the other hand, the increased energy cost, fines, and the comparatively lower income levels of the expatriate occupants were found to entice energy-saving, while the lack of home ownership and the inexistence of individual space control discouraged energy-saving-prone house renters. In addition to religious teachings and moral values, social media influencers emerged as prospectively having a significant effect.
The study offers insights to guide the development of effective energy-saving policies, strategies, and awareness campaigns focused on residential occupants’ motivation, with special attention to the subtleties, as revealed by this study, between the two groups composing the UAE’s population.
Syam, Monaya Muhammed, "HOUSING OCCUPANTS’ MOTIVATIONAL DRIVERS FOR ENERGY-SAVINGS IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY" (2020). Theses. 908.