Public Transit
Hospital Energy Management
Share of Energy Use by Appliances and Electronics Increase

Public Transit

Some 69% of Americans say there are times when public transportation is more convenient than driving. The biggest motivators for using public transit are:

  • High gas prices (29%)
  • Convenience (29%)
  • Avoiding traffic (10%)
  • Environmental concerns (8%)
  • Relaxing while traveling or getting things done (7%)
  • Safer (4%)
  • Because other people are using public transportation (1%)

Almost one-half (46%) of those with public transportation in their area say that local, state, and federal governments spend too little on public transportation, compared to only 11% who think government spending is too high.

Americans rank reduced congestion (28%) as the most valuable aspect of public transportation, followed by saves money (24%), protects the environment (13%), reduces stress (11%), supports the economy (9%), reduces dependence on foreign oil (9%), reduces travel time (4%), and other (3%).

Hospital Energy Management

A 2011 survey of U.S. hospitals (2011 Hospital Energy Management Survey) shows that a majority of organizations are not yet taking basic recommended steps such as performing regular energy audits, creating a strategic master energy plan, using commissioning of existing buildings or following the Green Guide for Health Care to monitor baseline energy performance. Below is a summary of survey findings:

  1. Acute care hospitals are one of the biggest energy users, resulting in health care ranking second behind the food-service industry in total energy consumed per square foot among commercial buildings, according to the Department of Energy.
  2. Most main hospital buildings – including those of 69% of the survey respondents – still are more than 20 years old. (The performance of energy-consuming systems degrades by as much as 30% in the first few years of operation, per the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.)
  3. About 28% said they perform an energy audit in their acute care hospital at least annually, while another 25% said they do theirs every two to three years, results that were much like the 2006 survey. (Experts say the exact time between audits isn’t as important as doing them regularly and following up on the recommendations.)
  4. Some 43% saw annual energy costs rise from the previous year, with the most common response (30%) being an increase of between one and five percent. However almost as many (40%) reported lower costs, likely derived from a combination of energy efficiency efforts and a reduction in rates in some areas.
  5. At least 25% set an energy budget and performance targets, and monitor them annually (38%), and participate in Energy Star (29%, up from 14% in 2006).
  6. Energy reduction strategies by at least 75% included preventive maintenance, light-emitting diode exit signs, and electronic ballast and energy-efficient lamps. Other efforts were buying Energy Star-certified products (55%), upgrading building control systems (53%) or implementing energy conservation programs (49%).
  7. Energy saving strategies incorporated into health care renovation projects included using higher-efficiency HVAC equipment (51%) and retrocommissioning and/or reduced-lighting power density and occupancy controls (30%).
  8. Two-thirds (66%) participate in a demand-response program, committing to run their emergency generators to alleviate load/stress on the grid.
  9. Other energy-management strategies included HVAC/air handling improvements (37%), lighting system improvements (24%) and water heater, steam or heat recovery (13%).

Share of Energy Use by Appliances and Electronics Increases

Over the past three decades, the share of residential electricity used by appliances and electronics in U.S. homes almost doubled from 17% to 31%, rising from 1.77 quadrillion Btu (quads) to 3.25 quads. This rise has occurred while Federal energy efficiency standards were enacted on every major appliance, overall household energy consumption actually decreased from 10.58 quads to 10.55 quads, and energy use per household dropped 31%.

  • The gains in appliance efficiencies were offset by a number of factors including:
  • The number of U.S. households grew by 34.5 million from 1978 to 2009.
  • Improved living standards resulted in more households buying and using major appliances.
  • The share of households that have central air conditioning nearly tripled, from 23% in 1978 to 61% in 2009.
  • The saturation, or percent of households with an appliance, of clothes washers increased from 74% to 82%
  • The saturation of dishwashers increased from 35% to 59%
  • In 1978, personal computers were expensive and not typically used by U.S. households. By 2009, 76% of U.S. homes had at least one computer and 35% had multiple computers.
  • Most households had only one television in 1978. By 2009, the average household had 2.5 televisions.
  • DVD players and Digital Video Recorders (DVR) did not exist in 1978. In 2009, 79% of homes had a DVD player, and 43% had a DVR. In addition, almost one-third of all households had at least four electronic devices, such as cell phones, plugged in and charging at home.

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration


  • Most Americans (81%) say they would buy and wear clothing made from recycled materials.
  • Despite rapid growth in recent years, solar power accounts for less than 1% of electricity use in the U.S. During 2010, the U.S. accounted for $1.6 billion of the world’s $29 billion market for solar panels.
  • Ethanol from corn supplies 10% of U.S. car fuel.

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