Physics Faculty Publications

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-2011

Publication Source

Energy Policy

Abstract

Residential building energy use is an important contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and in the United States represents about 20% of total energy consumption. A number of previous macro-scale studies of residential energy consumption and energy-efficiency improvements are mainly concerned with national or international aggregate potential savings. In this paper we look into the details of how a collection of specific homes in one region might reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, with particular attention given to some practical limits to what can be achieved by upgrading the existing residential building stock. Using a simple model of residential, single-family home construction characteristics, estimates are made for the efficacy of (i) changes to behavioral patterns that do not involve building shell modifications; (ii) straightforward air-infiltration mitigation measures, and (iii) insulation measures. We derive estimates of net lifetime savings resulting from these measures, in terms of energy, carbon emissions and dollars. This study points out explicitly the importance of local and regional patterns in decision-making about what fraction of necessary regional or national emissions reduction might be accomplished through energy-efficiency measures and how much might need to concentrate more heavily on renewable or other carbon-free sources of energy.

Inclusive pages

2982–2992

ISBN/ISSN

0301-4215

Document Version

Postprint

Comments

The document available for download is the authors' accepted manuscript, provided in compliance with the publisher's policy on self-archiving. Permission documentation is on file.

Publisher

Elsevier

Volume

39

Issue

5

Peer Reviewed

yes

Keywords

Energy efficiency, Residential buildings, Greenhouse gas emissions