Articles

Effects of Energy Conservation in Residential and Commercial Buildings

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Science  17 Aug 1979:
Vol. 205, Issue 4407, pp. 656-661
DOI: 10.1126/science.205.4407.656

Abstract

In 1977, heating, cooling, lighting, and other operations in residential and commercial buildings used 27 quads (1 quad = 1015 British thermal units) of energy. This is more than one-third of the nation's total energy budget. Future trends in energy use in buildings are likely to depend strongly on fuel prices and government policies designed to save energy. Three scenarios are examined: (i) a base line in which fuel prices rise as projected by the Department of Energy; (ii) a conservation case that includes higher gas and oil prices plus the regulatory, financial incentive, and information programs authorized by the 94th Congress and proposed in the April 1977 National Energy Plan; and (iii) another conservation case that also includes new technologies (more efficient equipment, appliances, and structures). These scenarios are analyzed for changes in energy use, costs, and employment by means of detailed engineering-economic models of energy use in residential and commercial buildings developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and input-output analyses developed at the University of Illinois.