How Much Energy is Lost In Getting Electricity from Point A to Point B? As electricity is transmitted, energy is lost due to resistance. According to the EIA, roughly 6.5% of energy is lost between the source at which it is produced and the amount that is available for sale to consumers.
How We Use Energy. Americans use energy in four primary areas - Industrial, Transportation, Commercial and Residential.
- Industrial uses include facilities and equipment used for manufacturing, agriculture, mining and construction.
- Transportation uses include vehicles that such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trains, subways, aircraft, boat, barges used to transport people and/or goods.
- Residential uses of energy include heating, cooling and lighting homes and apartments.
- Commercial uses of energy involve the heating, cooling and lighting of offices, malls, stores, schools, libraries, hospitals, laboratories, hotels and places of worship.
If You Put Residential and Commercial Together, Buildings Consume the Most Energy of Any Other Use. According to the EIA, the Building Sector consumes nearly half (49%) of all energy produced in the United States. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of all the electricity produced in the U.S. is used just to operate buildings. Globally, these percentages are even greater.
Contributing to Climate Change. As we burn fossil fuels to create the electricity to heat, cool and light our buildings, that burning creates greenhouse gases that are detrimental to our atmosphere. Thanks to Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth most of us have heard of greenhouse gases. In case you don't have the definition rolling off your tongue, let me help:
Greenhouse Gases are what keep the heat on the planet, instead of escaping out into the universe. They are what make life on this planet a comfortable temperature in most places on earth. However, converting all of these resources into electricity puts out more greenhouse gases then the earth can readily absorb or handle, and with this increase, the earth's temperature is warming up significantly.
Global Warming is proven to be created by human activities, and is causing the patterns of the earth to shift and change, depending where you are on Earth. Be it snow in August on a typically hot, shorts-wearing kind of day, the measurable retreat of ice fields, intense and unusual rains (or droughts) and raising sea level, the Earth is really messed up.
According to NOAA and NASA data, the Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 1.2 to 1.4ºF in the last 100 years. The eight warmest years on record (since 1850) have all occurred since 1998, with the warmest year being 2005. Most of the warming in recent decades is very likely the result of human activities. Other aspects of the climate are also changing such as rainfall patterns, snow and ice cover, and sea level.
Carbon Footprint. Greenhouse gases are measured in terms of the amount of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the environment, relative to our buildings and our transportation. The carbon footprint is the measurement of the greenhouse gases that we (or our organization) produces and is measured in units of tones (or kg) of carbon dioxide.
Offsets. To offset the damage created by our carbon emissions, it's possible to purchase offsets to mitigate the harm, from companies that protect the environmental through reforestation, renewable energy and other means.