PREM : Personalised residential energy model : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirement for the degree Master of Applied Science in Natural Resource Engineering at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Climate change is a major world environmental problem accepted by these governments who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol which aims to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) internationally 5% below the 1990 level during 2008 to 2012. The Protocol needed the ratification of Russia to get into force as the United States and Australia withdrew from the protocol. The New Zealand government ratified the protocol with the negotiated goal to reduce the GHGs back to the level of 1990. The main driver of this study is to help people reducing their personal GHG emissions in order to meet the government's objective of the Kyoto Protocol. Many people know about climate change and understand they will need to change their lifestyle significantly to reduce their GHG emissions. The how and where to change is often unclear. People need to be incentivised in order to encourage emission reduction. Some GHG-calculators already exist, but mostly without practical personalised suggestions and financial effects. This study aimed to develop a model which targeted responses by individuals based on their lifestyle and interests. The Personalised Residential Energy Model (PREM) which was developed in this study uses findings of energy related behaviours from existing psychological and technical research to develop an easy to handle and individualised computer model to assess a person's current energy demand. It includes household and travel demand and assesses the general ecological behaviour. Users will be provided with relevant information to assist them to seek practical and economic solutions in order to reduce their personal CO2
(carbon dioxide) emissions which is the main GHG in the assessed sectors. Starting with the current situation as a baseline, it establishes which behaviours have the highest probability of being undertaken by the person to lower their energy demand. Information about the financial effect and the CO2
emission reductions are provided for specific activities. Energy efficiency and conservation are the main focus of the model output. Further research could include the possible use of renewable energy. Using PREM found changes in domestic dwellings and transportation vehicles to be an important factor in reducing anthropogenic CO2
emissions. The model is made for New Zealand conditions but can be adapted to suit any other country.