What Percentage Of Energy Is Used By Buildings?
Homes and houses are where much of our electricity is used. In fact, about 40 percent of all U.S. energy consumption is accounted for by buildings and a similar share of greenhouse gas emissions. For decades, most of these systems will be in operation, so minimizing their energy consumption will not only ensure long-term cost savings for households and companies, but must also be a key component of any realistic climate strategy. In addition, the retrofitting of existing buildings and the upgrading of new buildings have the potential to create millions of good-paying jobs, particularly in construction, engineering and production.
Homeowners and businesses can realize cost savings and environmental benefits over the entire, decades-long life of buildings when energy efficiency is installed from the beginning.
We have so many different types of homes and buildings that we need a diverse toolbox of solutions to achieve broad efficiency gains: new and old, big and small, urban and rural. A key role can and should be played by federal policy, including through:
- Energy-saving building energy codes and requirements for appliances and equipment that ensure that new homes, buildings and goods such as air conditioners, water heaters and refrigerators have the minimum efficiency performance.
- Powerful tax incentives that enable owners of homes and buildings to resolve first-cost barriers to investing in successful renovations and facilities.
- Funding for weatherization aid that helps low-income homeowners permanently reduce rates, who spend a greater portion of their income on energy bills.
- In order to pave the way for a smarter grid that enables Active Reliability, bold investments in broadband, advanced metering technology and grid modernization.
- Aggressive job training programs targeted primarily at people of color and other underrepresented groups in the efficiency workforce to resolve shortages of skilled employees in construction and other trades.
- Robust research, growth, and implementation investments that drive cutting-edge technology faster from the lab to the market.
- Strong federal leadership, including expanding the use of public-private partnerships to enhance the efficiency of government facilities, such as Energy Savings Performance Contracting, and increased support for initiatives such as ENERGY STAR and the Better Buildings initiative to help drive business efficiency.
So How much energy is consumed in U.S. buildings?
The majority of energy consumption in or on all US buildings is the consumption of energy by the U.S. residential and commercial sectors.
The residential and commercial sector’s total end-use energy consumption in 2019 was approximately 21 billion British thermal units (Btu). 1 This was equivalent to 28% of overall energy consumption in the U.S. end-use in 2019. Main energy use and retail electricity sales include end-use energy use. Find out more about U.S. end-use energy consumption by source and sector in U.S. energy consumption, 2019.
In residential buildings, industrial buildings, and manufacturing facilities with energy use surveys, the U.S. Energy Administration (EIA) collects comprehensive end-use energy use data for selected years (see links below). In the Manufacturing Energy Usage Survey 2014, energy use in U.S. manufacturing facilities for facility air conditioning, heating, ventilation, lighting, and facility support, was about 0.9 quadrillion Btu, equivalent to about 3.6 percent of total U.S. end-use energy consumption in 2014.
Total energy usage in the residential and industrial sectors includes end-use use and energy losses in the electrical grid due to retail sales of electricity to those sectors. Losses in electrical systems are the amount of energy lost during generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. The residential and industrial sectors accounted for approximately 21% and 18% respectively (39% combined) of overall U.S. energy consumption in 2019 when electrical system energy losses are considered.