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Report shows building energy use in cities is declining: Q&A with author Stefen Samarripas

(ACEEE blog, 2 Apr 2020) Before the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. cities were reducing building energy use, and at least two factors contributed to that change: the age of a city’s housing stock and the relative size of its low-income population, according to an ACEEE report released today that should help guide local policy decisions.

The report explores several factors that can influence building energy use, curtail greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and combat climate change. The results clearly point to ways local governments can reduce building energy use and emissions. Still, because many municipalities do not report detailed, comparable, annual policy data, the study could not account for all energy-saving or climate mitigation actions taken by local governments. 

To learn more, we talked to Stefen Samarripas,lead author and ACEEE senior research analyst. He analyzed 2013–2016 data, finding that per capita building electricity use in U.S. cities fell at an annual rate of 1% — faster than the national average — and that per capita natural gas use declined 4% annually.

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ACEEE blog, 2 Apr 2020: Report shows building energy use in cities is declining: Q&A with author Stefen Samarripas