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Chapter 2 focuses on energy use in the U.S. residential buildings sector. Section 2.1 provides data on energy consumption by fuel type and end use, as well as energy consumption intensities for different housing categories. Section 2.2 presents characteristics of average households and changes in the U.S. housing stock over time. Sections 2.3 and 2.4 address energy-related expenditures and residential sector emissions, respectively. Section 2.5 contains statistics on housing construction, existing home sales, and mortgages. Section 2.6 presents data on home improvement spending and trends. Section 2.7 describes the industrialized housing industry, including the top manufacturers of various manufactured home products. Section 2.8 presents information on low-income housing and Federal weatherization programs. The main points from this chapter are summarized below:
- The recession continues to affect the construction and real estate industry. About 700,000 new residential units were constructed in 2010, representing a 66% drop from 2006. Housing prices have also continued to decrease since 2007.
- Residential energy expenditures decreased 7%, or $18 billion, from 2008 to 2009, the largest percent decrease in the last 30 years. At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions from residential buildings decreased 5%.
- Space heating and cooling—which combined account for 54% of site energy consumption and 43% of primary energy consumption—drive residential energy demand.
- Homes built between 2000 and 2005 used 14% less energy per square foot than homes built in the 1980s and 40% less energy per square foot than homes built before 1950. However, larger home sizes have offset these efficiency improvements.
Primary energy consumption in the residential sector totaled 20.99 quadrillion Btu (quads) in 2009, equal to 54% of consumption in the buildings sector and 22% of total primary energy consumption in the U.S. Nearly half (49%) of this primary energy was lost during transmission and distribution (T&D). Energy consumption increased 24% from 1990 to 2009. However, because of projected improvements in building and appliance efficiency, the Energy Information Administration’s 2012 Annual Energy Outlook forecast a 13% increase from 2009 to 2035.(2.1.1)