U.S. Energy Efficiency Metrics and Projections

We’re tracking major US energy efficiency metrics on a new webpage. Check out how 2015 measures up.

ACEEE, April 15, 2016. Image credit: PDPics

We picked metrics covering residential and commercial buildings, state adoption of building codes, energy savings from appliance standards, industry energy intensity, combined heat and power (CHP) capacity, personal and freight transport energy intensity, and the use of public transit, to represent the efficiency of US buildings, industry, and transportation. We also included national- level indicators on energy productivity (gross domestic product per unit of energy use), public spending on energy efficiency, and savings from energy efficiency programs. The figure below shows that US energy productivity has been climbing steadily; that is, the US economy is becoming more efficient.

ACEEE Energy Productivity

We also tracked indicators on oil consumption, net imports, and energy-related emissions in the country. Overall, these metrics capture most of the energy use in the United States. Similar metrics illustrate and compare national energy efficiency profiles of other countries.

Almost all our data for the United States show improvement in 2015 over 2014. Energy productivity stepped up by 3.3% and per-capita energy use declined by 1.6%. Average energy efficiency in residential buildings improved by 4.3%, and in commercial buildings by almost 2%. However, we caution that some of these improvements may be due to milder than normal weather in 2015. Industry and transportation metrics also show progress. Industrial energy efficiency is continuing to improve in small steps. Millions more recorded trips are being taken by public transportation every year. Average fuel economy of new passenger vehicles and light trucks has improved by 1.6%. Annual net oil imports declined by 8.7%  and annual energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were lower by 2.5%.

There are a few metrics for which we used projections or did not have the latest data. These metrics will be updated when new information becomes available. Trends from previous years still indicate that we are making modest progress in these areas. Savings from electricity programs improved by a significant 5.6% in 2014 over 2013, and the largest improvement was from natural gas efficiency programs, in which energy savings rose by 35% in 2014 over 2013.

Read More