The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on American Utilities Usage
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the ways many Americans live their daily lives, including the amount of time spent at home. This study seeks to address how much the assumed extra time spent at home has affected energy, gas, and water consumption. Preliminary research suggests that due to increased time indoors, utilities consumption increased between 2019 and 2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic (henceforth simply “pandemic”) began. This study intends to look at a relatively new phenomena and show how the recent pandemic has changed the lives of average Americans. Because the pandemic is ongoing, this research could provide the baseline for future examinations of the effects of the pandemic in years to come. For this study, the University of Dayton MEE 420/RCL 569 class of Spring 2021 provided their last three years of utilities usage and graphed their 2019, 2020, and 2021 data against each other. From there, the data was analyzed in MATLAB using the energy consumption data as well as weather to determine if a significant change in usage occurred between 2019 and 2021 that was not caused by unusual temperatures. From MATLAB, the mean difference values and p-values for each energy source consumption was recorded along with the plots of pre-COVID-19 and post-COVID-19 utility consumption. With the mean difference values being mostly positive, they suggest that the energy usage during the pandemic was greater than before the pandemic. Although this is true, the p-values indicate there is not enough evidence to suggest that the energy usage was greater during the pandemic than before it. This implicates that our study does not have enough information to definitively conclude that energy consumption increased during the pandemic.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Journal of Energy & Technology (JET) [U.S. ISSN 2768-1025]
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