Extensive research demonstrates the importance of user practices in understanding variations in residential heating demand. Whereas previous studies have investigated variations in aggregated data, e.g., yearly heating consumption, the recent deployment of smart heat meters enables the analysis of households’ energy use with a higher temporal resolution. Such analysis might provide knowledge crucial for managing peak demand in district heating systems with decentralized production units and increased shares of intermittent energy sources, such as wind and solar. This study exploits smart meter heating consumption data from a district heating network combined with socio-economic information for 803 Danish households. To perform this study, a multiple regression analysis was employed to understand the correlations between heat consumption and socio-economical characteristics. Furthermore, this study analyzed the various households’ daily profiles to quantify the differences between the groups. During an average day, the higher-income households consume more energy, especially during the evening peak (17:00–20:00). Blue-collar and unemployed households use less during the morning peak (5:00–9:00). Despite minor differences, household groups have similar temporal patterns that follow institutional rhythms, like working hours. We therefore suggest that attempts to control the timing of heating demand do not rely on individual households’ ability to time-shift energy practices, but instead address the embeddedness in stable socio-temporal structures.
Udgave nummer24
StatusUdgivet - 14 dec. 2022


  • District heating
  • Energy demand
  • Energy flexibility
  • Energy practices
  • Occupant behavior
  • Peak energy usage
  • Smart heat meters


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