Regional Difference of US Residential Building Energy Usage and Carbon Footprint: State-Level Analysis

Jianli Chen ( Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA )

Biao Kuang ( Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA )


United States (US) residential buildings demonstrate great decarbonization and energy-saving potential. However, research on the carbon footprint of residential buildings at the state level, especially consumption-based emissions, is limited. Therefore, this paper aims to quantify and compare the state-level carbon emissions and energy consumption of residential buildings in the US. Specifically, state carbon emission factors of electricity are estimated using area and population-based interpolations of eGRID regional carbon factors. Total carbon emissions and carbon intensity (e.g., carbon emission per household/ capita) of each state are then calculated based on the 2020 Residential Energy Consumption Survey dataset. Results of state carbon footprints demonstrate regional differences and spatial patterns: Texas and California stand out as the top energy consumers and contribute to the largest amount of carbon emissions, while Missouri has the highest carbon intensity on a household/ capita/ housing area basis. Also, west and east coastal states (e.g., California) exhibit lower carbon intensities than central states. Sensitivity analysis concludes that highly electrified states (e.g., Florida and Hawaii) are more sensitive to the carbon emission factor of electricity generation, with sensitivity degrees over 0.97. Furthermore, correlation analysis indicates that total carbon emission and its sensitivity to electricity carbon emission factor, as well as emission intensity positively correlate with state energy profile (e.g., gas ratio). Therefore, to achieve residential building decarbonization, besides energy-conservative measures, high gas-penetration states (e.g. Illinois) need to reduce direct fossil fuel use in residential energy services; states with high carbon emission factors and electrifications, e.g., Hawaii and Missouri, need to decarbonize electricity generation by adopting renewable energy as sources. The research findings contribute to understanding the regional variations in carbon footprints and energy usage of residential buildings, facilitating the development of tailored decarbonization and energy-saving measures for targeting states in the US.


Carbon footprint; Energy usage; Residential building; Regional difference; Consumption-based emissions

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