|U.S. Oil Imports Dropping|
|Green Home Construction on Increase|
|Energy Efficiency Drives Savings|
U.S. Oil Imports Dropping
The United States has been a net oil importer since the middle of the 19th century. It reached a peak in 2005 when daily oil consumption was about 21 million barrels (25% of global oil demand). More than two-thirds (14 million barrels) of that was imported.
Since 2005, U.S. oil consumption has dropped about three million barrels a day as consumers reduced their gasoline use by driving shorter distances. The average distance traveled per year peaked in 2003 at 12,500 miles; this is projected to fall to 11,600 miles a year by 2020.
Studies show that oil imports fell from about 14 million per day (2005) to 9.8 million (2011) and are projected to drop to 4.5 million a day (25% of oil demand) by 2015. By the year 2020, some projections indicate the U.S. would not need to import any foreign oil.
Green Home Construction on Increase
According to the SmartMarket report by McGraw-Hill Construction, more than 80% of builders say energy-efficient features are now widespread in new homes. Two-thirds of builders and remodelers say customers request green homes to lower their utility bills – which is the reason cited more than twice as often as any other factor.
The green-homes share of the construction market (17% in 2011) is expected to jump to between 29% and 38% by 2016. Consumers see green homes as not only saving them money but also having a higher quality in terms of durability and air quality.
Nearly all high-volume builders (95%) are now including features to improve air quality.
Energy Efficiency Drives Savings
The present efficiency standards set for appliances, lighting and other equipment is projected to save the U.S. $1.1. trillion by 2035 and to slash greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) and the Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
The savings are from a combination of standard updates plus first-time standards for items like computers, TV set-top boxes and street lights.
The Environment America Research & Policy Center released a recent study showing that more energy efficient buildings would likely save Americans families $450 per year in utility bills and reduce global warming pollution from buildings by 30%, which is the equivalent of removing 320 million cars from the road.
The report indicates a typical household will save about $10,000 between 2010 and 2025 just by purchasing products compliant with minimum standards. Although efficient products often cost more to purchase, they will normally pay for themselves within a few years in the form of reduced utility costs.
The report also showed that current standards cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 200 million metric tons in 2010, an amount expected to jump to 470 million metric tons by 2035 (roughly the output of 120 coal-fired power plants).
- The energy concentrated in one gallon of gasoline is enough to charge an iPhone once a day for almost 20 years.
- The top five sources of foreign oil to the U.S. (listed from higher to lower) are Canada, Nigeria, Venezuela, Mexico and Saudi Arabia.
- Based on today’s energy trends, the U. S. could end up exporting 500 million tons of coal a year, 3.2 billion cubic feet a day of natural gas and 2.5 million barrels a day of oil products by the year 2030.