Building Sector

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The building sector utilizes large quantities of electricity and fossil fuels directly and is expected to increase CO2 emissions for the next several decades at about 2% per year [7]. Figure 1.21, illustrates the importance of this sector in the United States, with commercial and residential buildings contributing 27% to national greenhouse gas emissions via use of electricity and direct use of fossil fuels, mostly natural gas and oil. Table 1.2 summarizes major technologies capable of achieving significant reductions in CO2 generation in the 2,050 time frame. The technologies are divided into two categories: (1) heating and cooling and (2) appliances, which include lighting.

For each of the two categories, the technologies are listed in the order of their potential impact in 2050 according to IEA for the Blue scenario. The technologies are either aimed at enhancing end use efficiency or are new alternative building heating/cooling technologies. It is important to note that those high-efficiency appliances and heating and cooling technologies are currently commercial, although there is potential for even higher efficiencies assuming a focused, successful research program. Lack of incentive and higher initial costs are the primary reasons for the slow rate of utilization. This is in contrast to the power generation sector, which is constrained by unavailable or undemonstrated technology.

Note that Chap. 9, Buildings Mitigation Opportunities with Health Issues Considered, analyzes major building efficiency options with a focus on energy efficiency/indoor air quality tradeoffs.

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