Most emissions in the US cities are the result of energy consumption in buildings and transport. This paper estimates the energy and carbon management for residential and commercial sectors in the 100 most-populated metropolitan cities in the United States. The studied cities produce 72% of US GDP and house 65% of the US population. The conclusion of this study is that energy efficiency is improving in the largest metropolitan cities in the United States and carbon emissions are falling. Good management can even result in further reduction of US CO2 emission levels.
Energy Procedia, Volume 75, 2015, Pages 2957-2962.
Marilyn A. Brown1, Matt Cox2
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- City of Atlanta Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
More than 1000 cities in the United States have signed the Mayor’s Climate Protection Agreement, yet few have created comprehensive estimates of their energy consumption and carbon emissions footprints. In this paper, we provide estimates of both of these measures for residential and commercial buildings in the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. over the 2000-2010 period. This tracks the progress towards sustainable development in major urban areas nationally, identifying leaders and laggards, as well as opportunities for improvement. This research also offers real-world policy relevance for energy efficiency efforts in the urban areas where the vast majority of U.S. GDP is produced.
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Figure 1: Metros with the Least (Houston) and Most (Durham) Improved Buildings Energy Footprints
Figure 2: Metros with the Least (Orlando) and Most (Philadelphia) Improved Buildings Carbon Footprints
Using “bubble charts,” Figures 1 and 2 highlight the trajectory of four cities, from 2001 to 2010. The backdrop of bubbles are the 2010 energy and carbon dioxide footprints of all 100 metro areas in the U.S. Over that decade, Houston had the largest increase in its buildings energy footprints, and Durham experienced the greatest improvement. When carbon footprints are graphed, the patterns change reflecting the carbon intensity of the electricity consumed in urban areas. Orlando experienced the largest increase in its buildings carbon footprints, while Philadelphia saw the greatest improvement.These graphs reflect the importance of local action and partnerships with electric utilities, which are highlighted in greater detail in our Applied Energy paper on “Progress in Energy and Carbon Management in Large U.S. Metropolitan Areas.”