New Year’s Update: Building Sector Energy Use Down

The Stats

We begin the New Year with good news! Housing, construction, consumer spending, jobs, trade, and business investments are all trending upward, all while energy consumption in the Building Sector is trending downward.

For the ninth straight year, projected U.S. Building Sector energy consumption (building operations) and greenhouse gas emissions to the year 2030 have declined.

According to the recent U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2014 early release, the reference case (business-as-usual) energy consumption projections to the year 2030 have declined each year since 2005, even taking into consideration the fact that we will add about 60 billion square feet to our building stock from 2005 to 2030.

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The EIA estimates that the entire U.S. building stock in 2030 is expected to be more efficient – consuming less energy per square foot of building floor area – than in 2013. In the reference case, the delivered energy (energy intensity) for residential buildings is projected to drop by 13.4 thousand Btu per sq. ft. of floor area, and for commercial buildings by 17.5 thousand Btu per sq. ft. of floor area.

The Savings

The AEO 2014 early release statistics also project that:

American consumers will spend $4.61 trillion less on energy between 2013 and 2030 than was originally projected in 2005.

This is money that will be spent locally (on rent, a mortgage, food, clothing, travel, education, entertainment, etc.) and generate taxes for schools, public transportation, infrastructure and services. This is in addition to the $560 billion that American consumers have already saved in energy costs that they were expected to spend between 2005 and 2013.

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This is all good news as the Building Sector continues to gather independent momentum and lead the nation on energy and emissions reductions – all without any meaningful congressional legislation to point the way.

Architecture 2030 will report on the full EIA AEO 2014 release in the Spring of 2014.

Fireworks photo credit: SJ Liew