Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Home heating efficiencies offer 'hat trick' of savings

Date:
December 15, 2009
Source:
University of Maryland
Summary:
Improving the energy efficiency of Maryland homes heated by natural gas would generate a "hat trick" of economic and environmental benefits over the next 10 years, including more than 80,000 new jobs, savings of hundreds of dollars in average heating bills and a nine percent reduction in residential carbon emissions, concludes a new study.

Improving the energy efficiency of Maryland homes heated by natural gas would generate a "hat trick" of economic and environmental benefits over the next 10 years, including more than 80,000 new jobs, savings of hundreds of dollars in average heating bills and a nine percent reduction in residential carbon emissions, concludes a new study by the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Environmental Research (CIER).

In the researchers' analysis, homeowners -- with assistance from state government -- would be encouraged to replace worn-out gas furnaces and water heaters with energy-efficient models, which are generally more expensive. Also, there would be incentives to improve household insulation. While these upgrades would cost thousands of dollars, they would more than pay for themselves in savings. Nearly half of Maryland homes are heated with natural gas.

"We're missing some big opportunities to lower home heating bills, improve the Maryland economy and reduce carbon emissions," says principal investigator, Matthias Ruth, CIER director and Roy F. Weston Chair for Natural Economics at the University of Maryland.

"Helping homeowners spend a little more up front can help the state as a whole in the long-run," Ruth adds. "This kind of co-investment makes good economic and environmental sense."

The Maryland Department of the Environment commissioned the study, "Strategies for Carbon Dioxide Emissions Reductions: Residential Natural Gas Efficiency, Economic and Ancillary Health Impacts in Maryland."

The University of Maryland's CIER conducted the research in partnership with The Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Merced and Towson University.

Previous CIER research for the State analyzed the potential energy and economic impacts of investing in electricity efficiency.

Using a series of economic projection tools, the researchers, in part, conclude that:

  • An average single-family household could save $400 to $500 in natural gas bills the first year by investing approximately $3,000 in a package of cost-effective energy efficiency measures: wall insulation, duct sealing, furnaces, water heaters, and pipe wrap;
  • Spending extra to purchase more energy-efficient natural gas furnaces and water heaters pays for itself in fuel savings; the cost of home improvements are more than offset by energy savings;
  • State incentives to encourage homeowners to purchase the most energy-efficient furnaces and water heaters and to make recommended home efficiency improvements would have positive economic effects, including the creation of more than 80,000 jobs, especially in the construction field, and nearly $11 billion in economic activity;
  • Reducing natural gas consumption would help Maryland meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, cutting residential emissions by more than 10 million tons over the next decade, or about 9 percent;
  • Home insulation should be avoided or accompanied by energy-efficient ventilation measures in parts of the state (mostly in Western Maryland) with high radon concentrations, where tightly sealing a house may increase effective exposure to the gas;
  • Findings apply to smaller, older Maryland homes; fewer benefits are realized in newer, larger homes.

"Though our research looked solely at conditions in Maryland, I wouldn't be surprised that similar benefits might apply in some other states where a large portion of household heating needs are met by natural gas," Ruth says.

The research team used a series of sophisticated economic projection tools to estimate the economic and environmental impacts under varying climate and appliance standards scenarios. The economic analysis considered the direct and indirect economic effects.

"Given the overall positive impacts of enticing efficiency of natural gas use by households, there is an important role to be played by the State," says Andy Blohm, a University of Maryland researcher on the CIER team. "We have already seen notable leadership by Maryland in promoting energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions. Our study clearly shows both the economic and environmental wisdom of that leadership."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Maryland. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Maryland. "Home heating efficiencies offer 'hat trick' of savings." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215102218.htm>.
University of Maryland. (2009, December 15). Home heating efficiencies offer 'hat trick' of savings. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215102218.htm
University of Maryland. "Home heating efficiencies offer 'hat trick' of savings." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215102218.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

Raw: Thousands of Fish Dead in Mexico Lake

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Over 53 tons of rotting fish have been removed from Lake Cajititlan in western Jalisco state. Authorities say that the thousands of fish did not die of natural causes. (Sep. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

Raw: Iceland Volcano Spewing Smoke

AP (Sep. 2, 2014) — The alert warning for the area surrounding Iceland's Bardarbunga volcano was kept at orange on Tuesday, indicating increased unrest with greater potential for an eruption. Smoke is spewing from the volcano, and lava is spouting nearby. (Sept. 2) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) — The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

Sharks Off the Menu and on the Tourist Trail in Palau

AFP (Sep. 2, 2014) — Tourists in Palau clamour to dive with sharks thanks to a pioneering conservation initiative -- as the island nation plans to completely ban commercial fishing in its vast ocean territory. 01:15 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins