11 Apr The Good News in Trends in Energy Consumption
As the domestic economy grows and advances, so too does it’s reliance on technology and therefore on energy availability. Thankfully, that same advance in technology means more efficiencies in fuel consumption.
This article highlights the key areas that encompass this rise in demand. Renewable energy’s share in total energy consumption has grown from 9 percent in 2011 to 13 percent in 2014. This growth owes to more flexible state policies and tax credits for power generation from renewables.
Trends in Residential Energy
A major part of the American dream is to have a comfortable home with the latest and greatest in technology and gadgetry. From cooking, cleaning, washing, heating, lighting, home entertainment, and lastly, computing and communications, combined with the rapid urban population shift, we’re seeing a steep rise in domestic energy consumption.
The average energy consumption per capita in the U.S, according to data acquired by the U.S Energy Information Administration, has been relatively steady at around 320 million BTU. Thanks to energy efficient appliances and awareness, this has now slightly decreased but there is still a long way to go.
The 2012 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO), published by the U.S. Government, describes a future whereby per capita energy use and rise in population will balance as energy efficiency increases. In 2014, there are about 119.67 million residential households, with an average house area of 1,674 sq. ft. The annual energy consumption per household is 117.9 million BTU.
Trends in Commercial Energy
The second and equally important aspect of growth and industrialization is the rise in commercial and industrial energy usage. New industries and businesses are forming throughout the country. Offices and factories aim to increase productivity, and in doing so, increase the drain on the energy sector.
Technical advances have contributed to the decline in energy intensity in commercial buildings. According to the AEO 2013, electricity consumption’s share for lighting will decline from 20.8 percent in 2011 to 15.1 percent in 2040. Progress in solid state technology has resulted in more efficient and lower cost lamps and other products, which are less energy exhaustive.
This has resulted in efficiency gains and decreased energy consumption in the commercial sector.
Trends in Transportation Energy
Be it domestic, commercial or recreational, the number of vehicles on our roads has increased exponentially in the last few decades. The transportation sector plays a pivotal role in today’s economy as it is the bridge between the producer and the consumer. According to the EIA, light duty vehicles form the major share of the annual miles travelled, followed closely by rail and then air.
Commercial/ freight and shipping account for the remaining travel distance.
As of 2014, the total annual energy used by the transport sector is 26.98 quadrillion Btu, out of which 14.87 is by the light vehicles and the remainder by the others described above.
The transportation sector growth rate is projected to be down between 2010 and 2035 compared to 1975 to 2010 (.1 percent annual growth compared to 1.2 percent annual growth respectively) again, thanks to fuel efficiency particularly in heavy duty and light duty vehicles.
While there is still a long way to go, despite population growth and increased demand, it’s good news to see better efficiencies and fuel economy as we move forward.