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Buildings Consume More Energy Than Any Other Sector

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Every year, nearly half (47.6%) of all energy produced in the U.S. is consumed by the Building Sector – about the same amount of energy consumed by both transportation (28.1%) and industry (24.4%) combined. [1]

Of the electricity we consume, three-quarters (74.9%) goes to operate the buildings we live and work in every day. By comparison, industry uses 24.9% and transportation, less than 1%.

Building Sector Energy Consumption Expected to Grow

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) now reports that, in coming years, Building Sector energy consumption will grow faster than that of industry and transportation. Between 2012 and 2030, the EIA reports, total Building Sector energy consumption will increase by 4.74 Quadrillion Btu (QBtu). Industry will grow by 3.33 QBtu and Transportation is expected to decrease by 0.37 QBtu. To put these projections into perspective, 1 QBtu is equal to the delivered energy of thirty-seven 1000-MW nuclear power plants, or 235 coal-fired power plants at 200-MW each.

Fossil Fuels Supply 84% of Total U.S. and 75% of Building Sector Energy Consumption

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, liquid fossil fuels supply 37.9% of total U.S. energy consumption, natural gas 27.3%, and coal 18.6%. Fossil fuels supply 75% of total Building Sector energy consumption. It is the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy that results in the production of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses that are now fueling dangerous climate change.

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Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (2009). To create a U.S. Building Sector, the residential buildings (operations) sector, commercial buildings (operations) sector, and industrial buildings (operations and materials embodied energy estimates) were combined.