The Impact of the Economic Factors on Housing Occupants' Motivation to Save Energy in the UAE

Monaya M. Syam, Kheira Anissa Tabet Aoul

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the residential sector is the second highest energy-consuming sector with an overall share of almost 27%; an inclination expected to keep increasing, urgently calling for strategies to control. A wide energy performance gap has been recognized as a result of occupants' behavior, catalyzing further research. Understanding the housing occupants' motivation to save energy can feed into adequate measures to lead to cost saving and resources conservation. The UAE has a distinctive population composition made of a relatively small national group and a much larger percentage of expatriates. There are major differences between the two groups, including energy tariffs, financial and non-financial subsidies and home ownership that result in different impacts on each group's behavior towards energy use and saving. Yet, this topic on occupants' motivation and behavior has not been explored in the conventional housing sector in the UAE. Hence, this study aims to explore the impact of the economic factors on local and expatriate housing occupants' motivation to save energy in the UAE. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 32 housing occupants (14 locals and 18 expatriates) all living in the city of Al Ain in the UAE. The major finding reveals that economic factors influence, in different manners, housing occupants' motivation to save energy. Home ownership, incentives, and the mandatory energy costs were found to be the main motivational drivers for local occupants. The increased energy cost, fines and the comparatively lower income levels of the expatriate occupants were found to entice their propensity for energy-saving. Also, the lack of home ownership has prevented and deterred the expatriate group from saving energy as house renters. The study offers ample data which is timely and relevant to guide the development of effective financial strategies and incentives focused on local and expatriate residential occupants' motivation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationZEMCH 2021 - 8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, Proceedings
EditorsKheira Anissa Tabet Aoul, Mohammed Tariq Shafiq, Daniel Efurosibina Attoye
PublisherZEMCH Network
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9789948310006
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Duration: Oct 26 2021Oct 28 2021

Publication series

NameZEMCH International Conference
ISSN (Electronic)2652-2926


Conference8th Zero Energy Mass Custom Home International Conference, ZEMCH 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited Arab Emirates


  • Behavior
  • Economic factors
  • Energy-Saving
  • Expatriates
  • Housing occupants
  • Locals
  • Motivation
  • Semi-Structured Interviews
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Building and Construction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture


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