Relationship of Socioeconomic Status and Electricity Consumption:Use of Geographic Information Systems Mapping and Survey Methods

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Relationship of Socioeconomic Status and Electricity Consumption:Use of Geographic Information Systems Mapping and Survey Methods
Herrin, Rebecca
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Subjects / Keywords:
Electricity ( jstor )
High income ( jstor )
Home improvement ( jstor )
Homes ( jstor )
Household appliances ( jstor )
Low income ( jstor )
Neighborhoods ( jstor )
Sales rebates ( jstor )
Socioeconomic status ( jstor )
Thermostats ( jstor )
Energy consumption
Geographic information systems
Social status
Undergraduate Honors Thesis


This research paper will focus on the difference in electricity consumption between those of upper socioeconomic status and those of lower socioeconomic status in Gainesville, Florida. Those with a lower socioeconomic status consume more electricity per square foot, due to unsatisfactory conservation education and availability to appropriate technology. Although the investigation is not into “why” one class uses more or less, it evaluates if there is a difference and through surveys will suggest possible reasons of why, if any, a difference exists. Using United States census block data, areas of low socioeconomic status and areas of high socioeconomic status are mapped out using Geographical Information Systems. The University of Florida’s Program for Resource Efficient Communities has provided electricity consumption data that will be overlaid on the socioeconomic status map. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is software that uses location-based data to represent patterns or trends. Surveys were sent to 150 Gainesville residents divided evenly between high income areas and low income areas. Survey results provided characteristics and behaviors to be compared and correlated with electricity consumption. ( en )
General Note:
Awarded Bachelor of Arts; Graduated May 7, 2013 cum laude. Major: Political Science
General Note:
College/School: College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
General Note:
Advisor: Ravi Srinivasan

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Copyright Rebecca Herrin. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.


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Relationship of Socio economic Status and Electricity Consumption Use of Geographic Information Systems Mapping and Survey Methods Rebecca Herrin Spring 2013 Capstone final research presented to the College of Design, Construction & Planning at the University of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment.


Herrin 1 A bstract This research paper will focus on the difference in electricity consumption between those of upper socioeconomic status and those of lower socioeconomic status in Gainesville, Florida. Those with a lower socioeconomic status consume more electricity per sq uare foot, due to unsatisfactory conservation education and availability to appropriate technology. Although the and through surveys will suggest possible re asons of why, if any, a difference exists. Using United States census block data, areas of low socioeconomic status and areas of high socioeconomic status are mapped out using Geographical Information Systems. The urce Efficient Communities has provided electricity consumption data that will be overlaid on the socioeconomic status map. Geographical Information Systems (GIS) is software that uses location based data to represent patterns or trends. Surveys were se nt to 150 Gainesville residents divided evenly between high income areas and low income areas. Survey results provided characteristics and behaviors to be compared and correlated with electricity consumption.


Herrin 2 Acknowledgements The research done for this paper was only available due to the help and kindness from several people. Under the supervision of Dr. Ravi Srinivasan, the editing as well as construction and solidification of objectives for the research was defined. GIS data, while abundant, is diffic ult to narrow down but luckily, assistance as well as data files were provided by both Dr Juna Papajorgji and Nick Taylor. In constructing the survey as well as protocol with distribution, the University of Florida Institutional Review B oard proved to be very helpful with answering questions pertaining to the matter as well as quickly sending approval for the survey.


Herrin 3 Introduction U tility companies all over the country are providing rebates or incentives to have their customers switch to more energy efficient products and/ or appliances. For example, Gainesville Regional Utility (GRU) has several programs that offer incentives such as rebates for those individuals who purchase more energy efficient appliances or upgrade home insulation. While provid ing multiple options for households to receive tax incentives or rebates, GRU also participates in the Low Income Energy Efficiency Program (LEEP). LEEP assists low income customers with home improvements that help reduce the demand on energy from the hous ehold (Utilites n.d.) The program provides an average of $3,200 of approved upgrades to the approve household (Utilites n.d.) The rebate is given directly to a GRU LEEP Partnering Contractor rather th an to the utility customer (Utilites n.d.) A pproximately 60 contractors are designated as GRU LEEP Partnering Contractor s (Utilites n.d.) The list of home improvements provided through this program is extensive and inclusive of many aspects of necessary conservation (Utilites n.d.) S ome of the improvements may include, replacing central air conditioning and heati ng systems, servicing central air conditioning systems, replacing room air conditioners with high efficiency units, repairing leaky ducts, installing additional insulation, replacing a water heather, installing a programmable thermostat, weather stripping and caulking of doors and windows, and providing up to 10 compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs) (Utilites n.d.) Applying for this program requires certain standards need to be met (Utilites n.d.) Fi rst, the program is only available to a GRU residential electric customer, the customer must own and live in the home (Utilites n.d.) Eligibility is restricted to homes or mobile homes built before 1993 (Ut ilites n.d.) Once a customer receives assistance, they are no longer eligible to receive additional assistance (Utilites n.d.) In order to be considered low income the customer must provide proof that he/she meets the HUD low income guidelines (Utilites n.d.) The repairs or


Herrin 4 upgrades must be made through a GRU LEEP Partnering Contractor (Utilites n.d.) A GRU representative, provided at no cost to the customer, must approve any services or repairs to the home, believed to be required, through a walk through survey and home energy audit (Utilites n.d.) Within thirty days of the work being complete, the customer must allow for an inspection of repairs and confirmation of the installation of the CFL bulbs (Utilites n.d.) Additionally, these rebates and incentives target many of the higher income households in the city. They have the luxury of being more likely to b e able to afford the initial investment in order to qualify for any rebate. This is not the case with lower income individuals. They may find it more of an economic hardship to be able to make such an investment, even though they would be saving in the lon g run. As those of lower economic status are less likely to be able to make such home improv ement investments, are they also more likely to use more electricity? There remain two main areas of thought on such an issue. One, those of lower economic status uses less electricity because they cannot afford to use more. Additionally, that remains that their motivation is responsive of their economic means, rather than why someone in a higher economic status, that would conserve for the betterment of the environ ment, or image. Additionally, when evaluating consumption between two economic classes, it is important to look at both overall consumption as well as square foot. One study found that households with higher economic status use more electricity tha n thos e of low economic status in total electricity consumption (Taylor 2007) However when analyzing the same consumption behavior, per square foot, those in low economic standing use more (Taylor 2007) Is it possible that economic standing effect your behaviors so that you are more inclined


Herrin 5 to use less or more, or perhaps that economic standing is affected by the inability to purchase items more equip to aid in the behaviors of energy efficiency? The objectives outlined in this research are to identify the relationship of electricity consumption between high socioeconomic status and low socioeconomic status. The second objective is to use a survey as a supplement to the results from Geographic status. The final objective is to differentiate any behavior from those of high socio economic status versus those of lower socioeconomic status. Literature Review Gainesville is located in Alachua County in North Central Florida. It is a city of about 125,000 people (Bureau 2010) About thirty five percent o f the population that lives under the federal poverty line, which is high in comparison to the state average of about fifteen percent (Bureau 2010) The University of Florida is located in the center of the city and contributes not just to the city but also to the state through an $8.76 billion economic impact (Wells 2011) The majority of the economic impact is from health care services (Wells 2011) The focus of this research is in Gainesville, because of the readily available data and assistance. Several organizations already have connections with the University of Florida in order to provide and distribute much of the data that was needs for this research paper. In 2011, Gainesville was ranked in having the fifth largest income gap in the nation (Curry 2011) (Bureau 2010) This large income gap suggests that social equity remains an issue i n the city. Household spending on housing costs (rent or mortgage) covers around thirty percent of all income levels income, while utilities reflect from about 5 percent to over 11 percent


Herrin 6 (Goldstein 2012) The percentage is disproportionate to the level of income. Those in lower income are responsible of spending the 11 percent of their income on utilities, while those with the highest income are using around 5 percent of their income towards utilities (Goldstein 2012) Determining what the consumption patterns between the highest and lowest income levels are important to understand, in order to begin to address equity issues in utility spending. Understanding if utility spending is due to lack o f conservation behavior or if their behavior is overridden by the house structural components. Low income homes are not always equipped with the most up to date or energy efficient appliances or structural advantages as new homes, and those with the high i ncome to afford the new construction. Several studies have been conducted to understand utility consumption behavior among the low income population. One example is an original research article published by Cornell University that looked at conservation b ehavior of low income individuals in two areas of the United States, northeastern region and one in the southeastern region, but of the same economic standing (Langevin 2010) This paper used photo elicitation study (Langevin 2010) This study had participants keep a photo diary to reflect on how that household saves energy (Langevin 2010) Additionally interviews were used to find the motivations behind conservation effo rts of those of lower income (Langevin 2010) The results of the study demonstrated that, similar to more affluent households, those of lower income conserve for the same reasons environmental, spirituality and a desire to preserve resources for future generations (Langevin 2010) The study concluded that the low income population faced more obstacles to conservation than affluent households did (Langevin 2010)


Herrin 7 In a nother study, low income households were compared against other low income households using a survey and an energy audit conducted by Gainesville Regional Utilities (Taylor 2007) ntify the most significant energy efficiency and subsequent affordability issues affecting the low income population in Gainesville, Florida and to address the potential for demand side management programs that (Taylor 2007) Results from the study showed that, for the low income population in Gainesville, Florida, attic insulation is the largest energy efficiency problem (Taylor 2007) Aside from the identifying the main obstacles that the low consumption of high income individuals is more than low income households, when the consumption is br oken down by square foot, the low income households are using more energy (Taylor 2007) This coupled with the idea that there is a disproportionate distribution of utility spending across low income and high income, there develops a need to further research into the behavior that is displayed by both groups in order to achieve conservation across the income spectrum (Taylor 2007) Most research in this topic covered income level s. This research would like to evaluate consumption on terms of socioeconomic status (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) Socioeconomic status (SES) goes beyond income level and evaluates the social status as viewed throug h education attained and occupation (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) While it is recognized, that SES is a combination between income, education and occupation, establishing thresholds for when one is considered, low or high SES has not been solidified by the American Psychological Association (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) However, in search of research, that does incorporate thresholds of SES; a study on The Role of Socioeconom ic Status Gradients in Explaining


Herrin 8 Differences in US Adolescents' Health outlined how to determine the status level of an individual by evaluating them on their income, education attained and occupation type (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) While the findings were not pertinent to this research, the method in determining the gradients of socioeconomic status was followed in order to develop a method of designating SES to a household. In the study, Dr. Goodman, had parent al respondents report total household income (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) Income classification was determined in relation to poverty thresholds (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) The thresholds were adjusted for household size adapted from the household income tables available from the US Bureau of the Census (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) Income was classified by five areas (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) First, category is below 1.5 times the poverty threshold was defined as class 1 (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) One and a half to less than 2.5 times t he poverty threshold was defined as class 2 (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) Two and a half to less than 4 times the poverty threshold was class 3; 4 times the poverty threshold and higher but not in the top 50 perce nt of household incomes class 4; and in the top 5 percent household incomes was classified as class 5 (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) Parental respondents reported their education and the edu cation of their current p artner, a s well (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) education was classified according to the following scheme: less than a high school degree was class 1; hi gh school degree, general equivalency diploma, or vocational training instead of high school was class 2; vocational training after high school, or some college was class 3; college graduate was class 4; and professional training beyond college was class 5 (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) For occupation type, the study dichotomized occupational groupings into manual and non manual occupations (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) One is sue with this method is that, which some non manual jobs are non manual, they can also be low paying. Goodman created


Herrin 9 fourteen groupings of job (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) She did not share what the groupings were and instead had two main groupings, of manual versus non manual (Goodman 1999, 1522 1528) Definitions Several terms will be used throughout th e paper that will be clearly defined for a better comprehension of the research paper. Socioeconomic status (SES), according to the American Psychological Association (APA) will be defined as the social standing or class of an individual or group (APA, 2012). In addition, SES is often measured as a combination of education, income, and occupation (APA, 2012). Defining these thre sholds is very convoluted and the APA has not determined one solid measurement (APA task force ) Despite the lack of a certified uniform measure of SES, there have been studies that have incorporated a gradient of SES into their research. According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, SES was determined through five class statuses. The class determination was decided through income level, occupation type and level of education obtained. Censu s Blocks are used because they are generally separated to reflect neighborhoods (USCB, 2012). It is the smallest geographic unit used by the Census Bureau (USCB, 2012); they tend to be defined by roads or natural barriers, such as creeks and rivers, but do reflect 100 percent data. This means that Census blocks collect data from every household as opposed to a sample of households.


Herrin 10 Methods This study used two methods of investigation, Geographic Information System m apping, as well as a questionnaire which was sent out to 150 participants Geographic I nformation System (GIS) Mapping One hundred and fifty households were targeted in this study. Seventy five came from the most affluent neighborhood in city limits. This was determined by GIS mapping. Income level was mapped by block groups and tax parcels. GIS was utilized in order to determ ine the areas that were the low and high income neighborhoods in Gainesville. These neighborhoods would be targeted for the surveys. In constructing the map, Gainesville tax parcels were overlaid by census block groups displaying median household incomes. The median household incomes were separated into different eight separate income levels, the same income ranges that were pr ovided on the survey (Appendix A ). The darkest shade is the highest range of income and the lightest is the lowest range of income. Once the ranges were mapped out, the darkest and lightest areas were selected. The resulting selections were the targeted areas, referred to as neighborhoods, for the surveys (Appendix B) Once these neighborhoods were found they were limited to the resid ential homes and then further separated into single family residence. Once the list was developed 75 households were randomly selected. They remained the high income group. While we targeted the high income groups we believed that the results that would co me back would reflect high socioecmonic status. The same process was used to identify the low income neighborhood. Once identified, the other seventy five households were randomly selected to be sent the questionnaire. While there were a much higher numbe r of neighborhoods that showed up, it is important to note that some area s were high in student living. The goal was to obtain single family hom es


Herrin 11 in order to determine their socioeconomic status. Students tend to have lower incomes; however, they are not always of a low socioeconomic status since their family may be wealthy or have high social status. So any area known to be an apartment community was disregarded as well as areas adjacent to the University of Florida, as they are known to house mainly stud ents. Despite the limitations, there were still several neighborhoods across Gainesville that reflected very low incomes and were thought to be more likely to have individuals that qualified to be of low socioeconomic status. High Income Neighborhood Dem ographics The high income neighborhood was located in northwest Gainesville. Those in the high income neighborhood had a median income of $102, 754 Ninety two percent of the area was college educated. Low income Neighborhood Demographics Unlike the high income neighborhood, the low income areas were spread out and not contained in one specific area in Gainesville. The low income areas were spread out among twenty census blocks in south, southwest, southeast, and northwest Gainesville. The average med ian household income among the twenty census groups was $18,433. Around 68 percent of the population in these targeted areas was college educated. Frequency Distribution of Median Household Incomes for Low Income Survey Areas Frequency Distribution of Average Percentage of Areas that are College Educated


Herrin 12 Survey The questionnaire consisted of forty four questions. The questions were split into four substantive areas: demographics, electricity (large appliances), electricity (small appliances), and home improvements. Each of these areas served to gain more information towards one or more of the objectives. For instance, the questions in determining the demographics were primarily used to determine the socioeconomic status of each individual. By using the guidelines provided by the study by Dr. Goodman income, education attained and occupation were evaluated. It is important to note the difference between socioeconomic status and just low income. Electricity consumption of large appliances was f ocused on air conditioners, refrigerators, washer, dryers, and dishwashers. The subject area reflected large items that tend to have a larger consumption load compared to other appliances in the house. The small appliances included computers, televisions, toasters, microwaves, toaster ovens, and mixers. Small appliances were items that tend not to be completely necessities of a household but can have quite an impact on household energy consumption. Additionally, the responses to large appliances versus smal l appliances were to demonstrate a couple of variables. First, large appliances tend to be less controllable. T his appliance is not likely to be replaced or updated until it is broken Along with affo rdability barriers, large appliances have less setting o ption s that allow people to determine the amount of electricity they are using. For instance, if a freezer is only 50 percent of capacity,


Herrin 13 the freezer does not use 50 percent of the energy to keep its contents cold. While air conditioners allow for more se tting options, it does not permit the user to only heat or cool the room they are in; rather it depends on the household temperature. Generally, the variety of settings include on or off In addition, as these appliances gain age and have less cleaning, th ey exhibit having higher electricity consumption. Small appliances tend to reflect more behavioral patterns. They have more of a range of affordability as well as controllability. For instance, a toaster is much easier to unplug after use, than a dryer. Th ey are also items that range in affordability, making items of different quality, but range of income levels can still obtain said appliances. The section on home improvements was to see if there was more of one group making home improvements, and what t hey were. Home improvements included large tasks, such as re insulating an attic, installing new large appliances. Smaller tasks were also included, such as changing types of light bulbs used in the home: incandescent versus compact florescent or light em itting diode (LED). Additionally, this section inquired about the insight on home improvements by asking if they believe their electricity bill could be lowered, as well as if they had participated in the free home energy audit, conducted by Gainesville Regional Utilities. The results would demonstrate which group was making home improvements to reduce their groups were making improvements, the results would lend to any differences or similarities in projects By understanding which improvements that are made, it is important to see if rebates or incentives are being provided for these. As previously discussed, Gainesville Regional Utilities gives a wide range of rebates for individual home improvements and it would be interesting to see if these home improvement items are also being provided rebates. In addition to the survey, there were two consent forms, one to be kept by the participant


Herrin 14 and the second to be mailed back with the com pleted questionnaire. In order to promote more (Appendix F ). The tip like was originally generated from the Gainesville Regional Utilities and then copied and pasted i nto a word document with a website address provided at the bottom of the page to the Gainesville Regional Utilities website, in order to present validity with the tips as well as provide a possible source for more information on conservation. The tip list provided seasonal tips for water and electricity conservation. The reason for including this information in the survey packet was to also bring attention or awareness to energy conservation. Education is an important part of behavior change, and in order to encourage conservation habits, it is important that the population be provided with such material. The final item in the packet included a prestamped and preaddressed letter, in order to make the return process as simple as possible Results Out of the one hundred and fifty surveys mailed out, twenty two responses were received. The majority of responses, 82 percent, came from those in the high income areas and had high socioeconomic status. Additionally, 91percent of the responses were college graduate s and 100 percent were high school graduates. The median house size was 2 people. Occupation was distributed into two categories, jobs involving manual labor and those not involving manual labor. No responses included jobs that involve manual labor, howeve r only 86 percent of the responses addressed the question, so in this sense, 100 percent of the respondents who answered the question, responded that they did not have a job involving manual labor. Once class was determined, the households were put into e ither group of High Socioeconomic Status (HSES) or Low Socioeconomic Status (LSES).


Herrin 15 Between the two socioeconomic groups, there were several similarities. For the survey area of Electricity Use (Large Appliances), the questions were developed to include q uestions that determined characteristics of the household and then to display, in some instances, correlating behaviors. For the similar chara cteristics of HSES households and LSES households, the majority of homes were twenty years or older. Both groups r eported having central air conditioning and having washer and dryers. Related similar behaviors included using hot or two to three months. Electricity Use (Small Appliances) indicated that both groups possess computers or laptops and have cell phones. The related behaviors included both groups reporting that they Additionall y, both groups report frequently leaving cellular phone chargers plugged in when not charging. Differences between characteristics and behaviors were also demonstrated in the survey. First, within large appliances, it was more likely for a household of LS ES not to have a dishwasher. Additionally, LSES households were not likely to change home temperature when gone for prolonged periods. With the area of Small Appliances, HSES households indicated having more small appliances, and that they are not likely to unplug these small appliances when not in use. In the instance of home improvements, the results from the survey indicated that both groups were making home improvements. However, HSES households were likely to have Energy Star appliances. LSES househo lds were likely to have standard incandescent bulbs,


Herrin 16 likely to have participated in the GRU free home energy audit, likely to report that they were bill could be lowered. In addition to those differences, LSES were likely to make home improvements and many of them large. Such responses included reinsulating their attic and installing new appliances along with photovoltaic solar panels and a wood burning stove. Electricity Consumption Ele ctricity Consumption was evaluated using GIS mapping. Data provided by Nicholas obtained the data from Gainesville Regional Utility. The data was joined to the tax parcel data of the high income neighborhood and the low income neighborhoods. Once joined the households that had returned surveys were the only parcels that were shown. Electricity consumption was based on average annual consumption To demonstrate the range of the electricity con sumption between the households, the homes are color coded, from green to red. Red is the most intensive consumption in relation to the other homes, and green is the least intensive. For each group, the tot al consumption measured in kilowatt hours and the total consumption divided by heated area with the units of kwh per square foot, was displayed in different graphs. Analysis Four conclusions can be drawn from the results. From the survey, we can conclude that to an extent, behavior is determined by socioeconomic status. Second, the while behaviors may be similar; th e actual behavior may have different motivations. When looking at the main similarities between the groups, many of the large appliance charac teristics are shared. The behaviors in relation to these characters demonstrate high electricity consumption behavior. For instance, about 90% of the energy consumed for washing


Herrin 17 clothes is used to heat the water (Utilites n.d.) In the instance referring to filter frequency, both groups have reported to changing their air conditioner filter every two to three months. The question not asked of the respondents was the type of air filter that the household uses. Air filters range in price as well as quality, those of high quality, and generally higher price, do not need to be replaced often, however the cheapest filters need to be changed once a mont h. If these two groups are using different filters, there may be a large difference b etween the efficiencies of each of the systems. It would have been beneficial to the study to ask for the type of filter the household uses. Large appliance electricity consumption also results in differences. For example, dishwashers were items that were less likely to be owned in households of LSES. This can reflect two possibilities. The homes may be small and adding a dishwasher would take up space in the already small kitchen. Additionally, it is possible that this item is seeing as a luxury in househ olds, rather than a necessity, like other large appliances such as refrigerators, ovens and air conditioning. One major behavioral difference between the groups is that LSES households are not likely to change their home temperature when gone for prolonge d periods of time. Gainesville Regional Utilities suggests adjusting the thermostat temperature if the household will be vacant for more than two hours. In the questionnaire, respondents were asked if they adjusted the thermostat if the home would be not o ccupied for more than 6 hours, such as a full work day. By not adjusting the household temperature, the home is requiring to remain cool during a peak heat time, if it is in the middle of the day. This causes undue stress on the system, when turning up the thermostat temperature would allow for the household to warm up a little more without requiring


Herrin 18 the use of electricity to keep it at a constant temperature with a greater difference from the outside temperature. In the instance of small appliances and electricity consumption, both groups demonstrated having computers as well as cellular phones. This reflects the affordability of such items or the prio rity that these items have taken in society. Since these items are both present in both socioeconomic gr oups, the behaviors are more likely to reflect class behavior. In these small setting on computers or laptops when not in use. Additionally, in contrast to a poss ibility energy saving action, both groups report leaving cell phone charges plugged in when not charging. Within small appliances, difference also existed. For instance, in HSES, the household were likely to have more small appliances and were not likely to unplug these items when they are not in use. Motivations of individuals were not used to determine why they do such behaviors. The scope of this project was meant t o understand what behaviors are being done. However, one can speculate that many or multi ple small appliances may seem like luxury ite ms, and thus, those with limited incomes do not indulge in such luxuries. Additionally, with or without accepting the former premise, the conservation technique of unplugging appliances reduces electricity load do to phantom energy. Phantom energy is the energy that an item continues to use, even if the item is in standby mode. While individual loads are not too significant, the addition of multiple appliances drawing upon phantom loads increases their impact ove rall. While, it is possible that those in LSES are unplugging their small appliance after use because they understand phantom energy, or it is also a possibility that these households are smaller and not able to have all their appliances plugged in due to the limit of space.


Herrin 19 The home improvement questions in the questionnaires outlined several differences between HSES and LSES. For instance, LSES are likely to have standard incandescent bulbs, opposed to compact florescent bulbs (CFLs) or light emitting di odes (L EDs). Additionally, HSES households are likely to have Energy Star appliances. These items demonstrat e initial cost barriers. While in the long term, the purchasing of these items would save the individual money, the initial cost is great for items such as LEDs, which are the most efficient bulbs currently and Energy Star appliances, which are certified t o use low amounts of electricity, as well as water. These items are characteristics, generally controlled by the economic status of the hou sehold. use and that the believed their electricity bill could be lowered. Additionally, it was the LSES gy audit. Again, the scope of the study was determining behavior and not motivation Additionally, the GI S mapping of electricity consumption has some conclusions, too. income household electricity consumption, the LSES households used lower total electricity, but when divided by square footage, used more than the HSES households per square foot did Several factors can contribute to higher per square foot electricity bills among the LSES households. Taylor, highlight that one design and material. With only so much control issued in making behavioral changes for conservation, Taylor notes that some homes are better built as in better structural material, and these differences give those households a better chance of lowering th eir bill and overall consumption.


Herrin 20 Conclusion The research was focused on determining the differences between the two socioeconomic classes After establishing a gradient to the idea of socioeconomic status, comparisons and patterns between two classes c ould be established. When understanding electricity consumption it is necessary to view it in a relative understanding. When comparing electricity use per square foot, the researcher is able to compare equally the two different SES populations. The resulti ng analysis from the GIS mapping and survey results, demonstrate that although there are currently programs established to rebalance the inequity of electricity use among the Gainesville population, there remains a significant difference between those of l ow SES and high SES. Limitations The limitations of this study included having a small sample size. Additionally, with a survey, people can lie and not be honest with their answers, so the reliability of the answers may not be as high as desired. used to demonstrate comparative use between people in Gainesville. The data provided matches the census data of the households provided and then uses electricity consu mption provided by Gainesville Regional Utilities. This allows for the survey data to be linked to the actual home and see the total use of electricity as well as the square foot distribution.


Herrin 21 Appendix A City of Gainesville Median Household Income map Th is map color codes the median household income in census block data.


Herrin 22 Appendix B Target Survey Areas This survey reflects the census block groups that were the main target areas for the surveys that were sent out. Addresses were compiled from the tax parcels in these areas and then randomly sorted and then the first seventy five households from each group were selected and sent surveys.


Herrin 23 Appendix C Image of High Income Area in GIS This image is a screen shot from Arc GIS This screen shot shows the High Income Neighborhood highlighted in purple. The red parcels highlighted are the households that were selected to be sent surveys.


Herrin 24 Appendix D Low Income Surveys Sent This image is a screen shot from ArcGIS This screen s hot shows the Low Income Neighborhood highlighted in purple. The red parcels highlighted are the households that were selected to be sent surveys. The red parcels selected are more difficult to see since the low income areas are more abundant.


Herrin 25 Appendix E In order to conduct a survey, a request needed to be supplied to the University of Florida Institutional Review Board (UF IRB) The appli cation assured that proper protocols were followed to protect both the researcher and respondents. The following is the consent form for the respondent with the approval from the UF IRB board for the survey.


Herrin 26 Appendix F Included in the packet sent to selected households was a conservation tip s sheet. Some Tips to Lower Your Electricity Bill! Winter Tips Set your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower during the winter months. For each degree you increase the temperature from the recommended setting, you can increase your bill up to 4%. GRU has HVAC system rebates available. Check your heating system's filters once a month and clean or replace as needed. Maintaining the system helps it to run longe r while using less energy. GRU has central air conditioner maintenance rebates available Weatherize your home. You can save 30% off heating costs by simply caulking, sealing and weather stripping around all windows, outside doors or where plumbing, duct work and electrical wiring penetrate exterior walls, floors or ceilings. Spring Tips U se ENERGY STAR labeled products. A new refrigerator with an ENERGY STAR label will save you between $35 and $70 a year compared to the models designed 15 years ago. GRU has high efficiency room air conditioner rebates available. Install 14 watt compact fl uorescent light bulbs in place of 60 watt incandescent bulbs. CFLs use at least 2/3 less energy than standard incandescent bulbs to provide the same amount of light, and last up to 10 times longer. You can save $30 or more in energy co sts over lifetime. The most important maintenance task that will ensure the efficiency of your air conditioner is to replace or clean filters mo nthly. Clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow and reduce a system's efficiency significantly. GRU has central air co nditioner maintenance rebates available. Summer Tips Use ceiling fans to increase comfort level. Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher. For each degree you lower the temper ature form the recommended setting, you can increase your bill up to 4%. GR U has HVAC system rebates available. Don't place lamps or TV sets near your air conditioner thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, and caus es the air conditioning to run longer than necessary using more energy. Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but not to block the airflow. A unit operating in the shade uses as muc h as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun. Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically and maximize energy savings. When cooling, try programming the thermostat to 8 2 while you are gone in the daytime and return it to 78 two hours before you get home. Fall Tips About 80 to 85% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of e nergy used for washing clothe s use less water and use cooler water. Your clothes will be just as clean as using warm, or hot water and you'll save money by not heating water to wash clothes. Costs are 26¢ per load using hot water and 11¢ per load using warm wa ter. Use natural gas fo r cooking, water heating and drying clothes. Natural gas can save up to 30% more in costs than using electric for these appliances and is better for the environment. GRU has natural gas rebates available. Lower the thermostat on your hot water heater to 12 0F. For each 10F reduction in water temperature, you can save between 3% 5% in energy costs. Source: Energy Saving Tips: When you Save Engery, you Save Money. 2010. p.


Herrin 27 Appendix G The survey consisted of forty four questions. Household Electricity Consumption Survey Thank you for your participation. Please fill out this survey as completely and accurately as possible. Mails back with your signed consent form in the preaddressed envelope. Postage has already been provided. Please complete and send back by March 8, 201 3. Demographics The purpose of this section is to learn a little more about you and your home. Please fill out as completely and as honestly as possible. 1. Including yourself, how many people live in your home? 1 2 3 4 5+ 2. What is your household income ? Under $11,170 $11, 170 to $19,499 $19,500 to $31,149 $31,150 to $55,599 $55,600 to $83,399 $83,400 to $111,199 $111, 199 to $166, 799 more than $166, 800 3. What is the highest education you have completed? Some High School High School Diploma/ GED Some College /Vocational School College Graduate 4. What type of job do you have? Involves manual labor Does not involve manual labor 5. How long has your family lived in this home? Less than 12 months M ore than 12 months 6. When was your home built? Less than 5 years ago 5 to 10 years ago 10 to 20 years ago 20 or more years ago Do not know 7. Are you in charge of paying your electricity bill? Yes No *If No, who is in charge of paying?___________________________


Herrin 28 Electricity: Large Appliances (Large appliances include Air Conditioners, Refrigerators, Washers/Dryers) This section is to gauge what your large appliances are and how often they are used. Please answer honestly and the best to your ability. 8. Do you ha ve central air heating and cooling system in your home? Yes No *If No, what types of cooling/heating systems do you have? (check those that apply) Ceiling Fans Window Unit Stand Alone fan Nothing 9. What type of thermostat controls your main heatin g system? Standard Thermostat Programmable Thermostat No Thermostat 10. What temperature do you set your thermostat to when heating your home? ____ F 11. What temperature do you set your thermostat at to cool your home? ____ F 12. Do you change these temperatures when no one is in your home for more than 6 hours? Yes *Changed to ____ F No 13. How often is the air conditioner filter changed? Once a Month Once every 2 3 months Once every 4 6 months Once a year 14. W hat other methods do you use to make your home climate more comfortable? (Check all that apply). Opening Windows Using Fans/ Space heaters 15. Do you have a washing machine in your home? Yes No 16. How old is your washer? New to 14 years old 15 years or older 17. Do you wash your clothes in warm or hot water? Yes No 18. Do you have a clothes dryer in your home? Yes No 19. Do you have a dishwasher? Yes No


Herrin 29 20. How old is your dishwasher? New to 18 years old 19 years or older 21. Does your dishwasher heat the water when washing a load of dishes? Yes No *If Yes, is there a setting that you can use to turn off the heating feature? Yes No 22. How often do you use your dishwasher? Daily Weekly Rarely or Nev er 23. Do you set your dishwasher to dry the dishes after washing? Yes No 24. How many refrigerators does your household have? None 1 More than 1 25. If more than one, are any kept in the garage? Yes No 26. Do you have a stand alone freezer that is kept in the garage? Yes No 27. How old is your refrigerator? New to 19 years old 20 or more years old 28. What setting is your refrigerator set to? (For this question you may need to locate the temperature gauge inside your refrigerator.) Below (cooler than) the recommended setting At the recommended setting Above (warmer than) the recommended setting Electricity: Small Appliances (Small appliances include computers, TVs, toasters, microwaves, toaster ovens, mixers) This section is to gauge the amount of small appliances you have and how they are used. Please answer honestly and the best to your ability. Please answer honestly and the best to your ability. 29. Do you have a desktop computer or laptop? Yes No 30. Are you desk top or laptop Yes Sometimes No 31. Are you desktop or laptop switched to ? Yes Sometimes No 32. Do you have a television in your home? Yes No


Herrin 30 33. When not in use, are the televisions unplugged? Yes Sometimes No 34. Do you own any cellular phones? Yes No 35. If yes, do you leave the charger plugged in, even when not connected to the device? Yes Sometimes No 36. In your kitchen, about how many small appliances (toaster, mi crowave, mixer, etc.) do you have? None 1 to 3 4 to 6 M ore than 6 37. Are any small kitchen appliances plugged in when not in use? Yes, most Yes, some No Home Improvements This section will take into consideration any improvements you have made to your home. It also will inquire about your personal opinion on your energy consumption. 38. What do you believe is using the most electricity in your home? Air conditioner Refrigerator Television Dryer Lights Other_____________________ 39. How con cerned are you about electricity costs in your home? Very Concerned Concerned Not Very Concerned Not at all concerned 40. In the past year have you made any home improvements? Yes No *If Yes, check all that apply. Reinsulated the attic Installed new Air conditioning system Installed new large appliances (Refrigerator, washer/dryer) Other_____________________________________________ 41. Why type of light bulbs do you use in your home? Standard Incandescent Fluorescent Compact Fluorescent 42. Do you have any appliances that are Energy Star certified? Yes No 43. Have you participated in a GRU free home energy audit? Yes No


Herrin 31 44. Do you believe your electricity bill can be lowered? Yes No Thank you for your participation. All answers are ke pt confidential. Please do not forget to sign the consent form and send this survey and the consent form back to me in the pre addressed envelope that was included. You do not need to provide the postage, it has already been provided for you. If you need to contact me with any questions, please contact me through the email address ufsurvey_101


Herrin 32 Appendix H High Income Area Returned Surveys


Herrin 33 Appendix I


Herrin 34 Appendix J Low SES Returned Surveys


Herrin 35 Appendix K Gainesville Regional Utilities Rebates and Incentives (Utilites n.d.) Upgrade Tax Credit GRU Rebate Water Heaters Heat Pump Water Heater $300 Natural Gas Water Heater $300 Heat Pump Water Heater $200 Natural Gas Water Heater $250 tank style $350 tank less Insulation 10% of the cost, up to $500 $0.125 per square foot, up to $375 Solar PV Systems and Solar Water Heaters 30% of cost Solar FIT Program Net Metering for Solar PV S ystems Solar Electric (PV) System Rebate Program Solar Water Heaters $500 HVAC Central A/C $300 Natural Gas Furnace (Central Heat) $150 Central A/C $550 ($1,100 with Instant Double Rebate until April 19) Central Heat (Natural Gas) $300 for first unit conversion Windows 10% of the cost, up to $200 $1.25 per square foot, up to $300


Herrin 36 Works Consulted Goodman, Elizabeth. 1999. "The Role of Socioeconomic Status Gradients in Explaining Differences in US Adolescents' Health." American Journal of Public Health 89 (10): 1522 1528. Taylor, Nick. 2007. "Housing Energy Efficiency and Affordability Issues Affecting Low Income Residents in Gainesville, FL. ." Masters, University of Florida. Energy Saving Tips: When you Save Engery, you Save Money. 2010. Gambhir, S., Reece, J., Martin, M., & Agyeman, K. "Utilizing GIS to support advocacy and social justice: A case study of university led initiatives. ." 2009. L angevin, J., Gurian, P. L., & Wen, J. "Reducing energy consumption in low income public housing: Interviewing residents about energy behaviors." Applied Energy 2010. Utilites, Gainesville Regional. Rebates and Incentives for your home. n.d.