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Raechel Martin 4/19/2012 EGEE101H Residential and Commercial Energy When many think about energy consumption, they

often think of large scale operations, such as the industrial use of fossil fuels and its impact on the environment or maybe the burning of fossil fuels in automobiles. The problem with this is that many see these energy consuming acts as something distantsomething out of their control. They assume the issues surrounding these operations do not directly affect them, and there is nothing they can do to improve them. And so, much of the public becomes detached from the energy scene in its entirety. But this is wrong, and quite frankly unacceptable, as how we use energy in the future depends on how we use energy today. It is important that people in todays society are aware of how they use energy. No, most people do not come into contact with a coal plant on a daily basis, and maybe even some do not have a car themselves. But most do have a home, and most do have a workplace or another commercial building the come into contact with frequently, if not on a daily basis. Therefore, it is necessary that people know how energy is used in these settings, and how they contribute to its use, in order to improve energy efficiency in the future. The objective of my paper is to lay out the history of residential and commercial energy, highlight the major factors that impact todays energy use and efficiency, and address the impact on future energy development. The history of residential and commercial energy started off relatively simple. Wood was the basic resource used for heating homes and businesses in 1860 and this continued until

about 1910 for most rural homes, even though coal was introduced in the 1800s as well (Shell). This makes sense because wood was widely available at this times and there were not as many concerns about preserving the natural environment (i.e., deforestation). Also, many rural homes would most likely not be able to afford or would not have easy access to district heat because of the distance between their homes and cities or towns. In 1870, kerosene was introduced as an illuminating agent for oil lamps before light bulbs were invented (Shell). This was a relatively simple way for residences to light their homes without relying on outside sources, except to get fuel. In 1880, the incandescent light bulb was introduced (Shell). The incandescent light bulb, containing a metal filament, nitrogen, argon, and a vacuum sealed bulb improved efficiency from the previously invented carbon filament light bulbs (which only converted about .15 percent of electricity to visible light) to about 1.8 percent (Smil). Improvements on the light bulbs were yet to be made. Fluorescent lights contain low-pressure mercury vapor and their inside shell is coated with phosphorous compounds, improving electricity-radiation conversion to 15 percent (Smil). However, LED lights are the most efficient with electricity-radiation conversions at about 80 percent (The Advantages of LED Lights). Two years after the invention of the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison started the first coal fired power plant used to light houses (Shell). This combination allowed residences to use electricity to light their houses by way of the incandescent light bulb. But in 1984, nuclear energy became the largest source for electricity, pushing coal to second place (Shell). On the commercial end, the first commercial nuclear power plant started in Shippingport, Pennsylvania; it created energy by splitting uranium atoms (Shell). As nuclear energy increased, other sources of commercial energy were used less. In the 1970s, both petroleum and coal use

for commercial energy went down (Shell). From 1993 on however, natural was the most prevalent source for heating followed by electricity, then fuel oil, then propane (Whats New in Our Home Energy Use). As far as energy efficiency methods go, before 1990 only 52 percent of houses were built with triple pane energy-efficient windows, but after 2000, 80 percent of houses were built with triple pane energy-efficient windows (Smil). Other improvements have been made in regards to the overall building envelope and the other technologies used to make energy more efficient (to be discussed later). In regards to heating and air, the whole-house approach did not resonate in society until about the 1990s (Central HVAC). This would mean that up until this point more concentrated methods of heating and air were used such as space heating and window air conditioning units. Although the 1990s was the major boom for centralized heating and air, major improvements have still been made over the last decade (Central HVAC). Overall, the history of residential and commercial energy has evolved from very basic forms to more complex forms. From coal to nuclear energy supply on larger scale, to the development of the light bulb, to the progression of heating homes starting with wood and ending with centralized heating and air; residential and commercial energy has come a long way. Based on my findings and research, the most prevalent issues involving residential and commercial energy revolves around methods to create more energy efficiency in homes and commercial buildings. With the economy being in the current state it is in, it is important for home owners and businesses alike to save energy and thus save money. First I will discuss more current methods to energy saving, and then I will delve into future initiatives to conservation of residential and commercial energy.

Currently, natural gas is the most prevalent source for residential energy and it provides energy for over 55 million homes in the United States, or 49 percent of homes (Whats New in Our Home Energy Use). This natural gas is largely used for heating. Natural gas is followed by electricity, fuel oil, and kerosene as sources for residential energy (Electricity Use). From about 2001 to 2009, however, natural gas use decreased slightly while electricity use increased; natural gas still holds first place (Residential Energy Consumption Survey). On the other hand, commercial energy is largely supplied by electricity (accounts for 55 percent) followed by natural gas, district heat, and fuel oil (Energy Use in Commercial Buildings). The flow chart below highlights the different sources of energy used for commercial and residential energy in Btus (British thermal unit).

(Energy Flow)

Of the energy supplied to residential buildings, most of it goes towards HVAC, or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Currently, the percentage of energy that goes towards HVAC is around 42 percent (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions). The same goes for commercial energy; HVAC also makes up the most energy consuming facet of commercial buildings with consumption around 38 percent (Center for Climate and Energy Solutions). In regards to cost, unless a residential or commercial building is situated in a temperate climate that does not need to rely heavily on air adjustment, HVAC costs typically comprise around 44 percent of the utility bill for the building, especially for homes (Central HVAC). Given that HVAC consumes so much energy for both residential and commercial establishments, it only makes sense that efforts are made to use heating and cooling more efficiently and to create more efficient systems. Starting with consumer usage, not only is it wise for consumers to buy energy efficient systems from the start, but it is also important for them to be used properly. Central air and heating systems are more ideal for whole-home cooling or heating, as opposed to space heaters or window air conditioning units which are more ideal for concentrated heating and cooling; using these guidelines, costs can already be lowered for heating and air (Energy Savers). On a larger scale, both centralized cooling and centralized heating systems are regulated and consistently being improved to offer optimal efficiency for consumers. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio measures the of central air units, which according to regulations cannot be lower than 13 (Energy Savers). Similarly, the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor measures the energy efficiency of centralized heating systems, which according to regulations cannot be lower than 6.8; if it is above 8.2 the system is consider to be

of high-efficiency (Energy Savers). These regulations show the effort on the manufacturing level to create more energy efficient systems for consumers, which is vital to energy conservation on an individual basis. Heat pumps are another great way for consumers to save energy in both heating and cooling. A heat pump works by transporting heat from an outdoor unit (called a condenser) to an indoor unit (called an evaporator coil); in the winter hot air is transferred from the outdoor system to the indoor system, but in the summer the process is reversed allowing cool air to be circulated inside (Central HVAC). A heat pump can reduce the electricity used for heating and air by about 30 to 40 percent (Central HVAC). Another major use for residential and commercial energy is lighting. Lighting accounts for approximately 11 percent of residential energy use and 22 percent of commercial energy use (Residential and Commercial Overview). Given the amount of consumption use for lighting (which is large compared to other components of the building), this should also be an area of concern for conservation methods. The main method of conservation is using lights that convert electricity to visible light in the most efficient manner (i.e., by using less energy). As stated before in the history of light bulbs, fluorescents and LED light bulbs have the highest ratings of electricity-radiation conversion with 15 percent and 80 percent respectively (Smil; The Advantages of LED Lights). To put this into a cost perspective, if a 100 Watt incandescent light bulb is used for 1 year at 10 cents per kilowatt hour, 88 dollars will be spent; if an LED light is used for the same amount of time at the same rate, it will cost only 23 dollars (The

Advantages of LED Lights). Clearly, the use of LED lights over the traditional incandescent saves not only energy because of the high rate of conversion, but also money for the consumer. Future energy use depends not only on our current use, but how technology and building techniques are improved. Technologies are constantly improving, and with labels like ENERGY STAR, consumers can consistently keep up with and replace their existing technologies with new, more efficient technologies if need be. However, this becomes more difficult when it comes to the building itself. It is harder to improve upon the building and its envelope because it is not feasible, in regards to time or cost, to renovate whole buildings at a time. Yes, this is possible, but it is more logical and reasonable to integrate energy efficient methods from the beginning so that fewer changes need to be made later on. This is especially important for commercial buildings because they are usually much larger than residential buildings and thus harder to renovate in the long run. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a United States Department of Energy lab, works to improve the energy efficiency of commercial buildings (Advanced Commercial Buildings Research). Their efforts work to integrate both internal and external systems of new and old buildings in order to provide the most energy efficiency possible (Advanced Commercial Buildings Research). For new building construction, one of the most important targets of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is the building envelope. The building envelope includes all external elements of the building such as the walls, roof, and windows (Advanced Commercial Buildings Research). It is important to incorporate energy efficient building envelope methods in order to prevent heat loss, a major effect on the cost of

heating and air. This can be done by using energy efficient windows and roofing. Typically 15 to 22 percent of heat loss is attributable to windows by way of conduction (the transfer of heat from hotter areas to cooler areas) (Wasielewski). The amount of heat loss is essentially measured by three factors: the U-factor: the rate of heat loss; the solar heat gain coefficient: the rate of solar heat transmission; and air leakage: the amount of heat transferred by air flow through cracks (Window Energy Efficiency Solutions for Public and Affordable Housing). Ideally, the U-factor, solar gain coefficient, and the amount of air leakage should all be low on a scale of 0 to 1. A nearly perfect window made by the Worlds Best Window Co. has a U-factor of .35, a solar heat gain coefficient of .32, and an air leakage measurement of .2 (Window Energy Efficiency Solutions for Public and Affordable Housing). In regards to roofing, radiant barriers serve to reduce the amount of heat gain in a home which can also negatively affect heating and air costs (Energy Savers). Typically made of a polished film of aluminum, radiant barriers are capable of stopping 97 percent of the 93 percent of solar radiation that is transferred into attics (Energy Savers). They are most effective when stapled under roofing rafters or trusses (Energy Savers). Both windows and roofing methods and technologies are something the National Renewable Energy Laboratory should take into consideration when developing a solid building envelope for future building construction. In order to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory typically focuses on bringing in more energy efficient technologies for HVAC, lighting, electricity controls, and water and energy connections (Advanced Commercial Buildings Research). All of the methods, used by the aforementioned organization help to better the energy efficiency of both existing and future buildings.

Another overseeing organization of commercial building is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. Established by the United States Green Building Council in 2000, LEED works to provide third-party certification for new and existing buildings that meet their guidelines for green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance (USGBC). LEED advocates for a whole-building approach to energy conservation and sustainability so their requirements for certification covers several areas including: sustainable sites (site selection and development), water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, locations and linkages, awareness and education, innovation in design, and regional priority (USGBC). Below is an optimal rating scale for two aspects of a building:

Images from (USGBC) These ratings cover a wide range of building components from start to finish, inside and out. Perhaps the most influential rating on future energy use is the awareness and education

rating. This category advocates for home builders and real estate agents to educate buyers, homeowners, and building managers with the knowledge they need to use their building in the most efficient manner (USGBC). Only with awareness and education on how the technology works can commercial building managers and workers use the building with optimal efficiency; it is reasonable to assume that with education on energy efficiency comes future innovation and increased use of energy efficient technologies. In conclusion, current use of energy efficient technologies, such as lighting and HVAC systems, and building methods, such as roofing techniques and windows, provide lower energy costs and increased efficiency in the use of the energy sources prevalent in residential and commercial buildings. Efforts made by third party organizations, like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, work to promote energy efficiency for existing and future buildings by advocate for energy efficient building techniques and energy efficient technologies. The combination of the use of energy efficient technologies, and efforts made by these organizations collectively improve the overall use of residential and commercial energy for our present and future.

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