The Intersection of Energy and Justice: Exploring the Spatial, Racial and Socioeconomic Patterns of Residential Heating Affordability, Consumption and Efficiency in Wayne County, Michigan [Master's thesis]
Within the Detroit metropolitan area, some residents are crippled by the surmounting utility costs making it an arduous endeavor to adequately regulate temperatures in their homes for a reasonable cost given their income. Disparities in household income and energy affordability have been well studied; however, research on differences in the relationship between race, place and energy is lacking. This research explores these relationships using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). Regression models were developed to predict annual heating energy consumption and energy use intensity (EUI). From these models, data from the U.S. Census Bureau were used to create small area estimates of mean annual heating energy consumption, EUI and energy affordability burden at the census block group level. Results were mapped using geographic information systems (GIS) to identify spatial patterns
of energy consumption, efficiency and affordability in Wayne County, Michigan. The results of this study reveal that spatial, racial and socioeconomic disparities in energy affordability, consumption and efficiency in Wayne County, Michigan exist. Spatial clustering of heating consumption, EUI and energy burden were evident within the Detroit metropolitan area. Higher levels of EUI and energy burdens were concentrated in the urban center of Detroit, while lower levels were found in the suburban areas of the county. There are no statistical relationships
between race and heating energy consumption; however, block groups with higher percentages of African American and Hispanics householders have highly significant correlations with EUI, and indicate higher consumption per square foot. Significant correlations were also found between block groups with higher home ownership and income with lower heating EUI.
Energy, Energy Efficiency, Energy Equity, Fuel Poverty
Bednar, Dominic. (2016) “The Intersection of Energy and Justice: Exploring the Spatial, Racial and Socioeconomic Patterns of Residential Heating Affordability, Consumption and Efficiency in Wayne County, Michigan.” Master's Thesis, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor 1-47.