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Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions

Date:
June 26, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Energy conservation in a small number of households could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, scientists are reporting. Their study measured differences in energy demands at the household level.

Energy conservation in a small number of households could go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, scientists are reporting.

Their study, which measured differences in energy demands at the household level, appears in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Dominik Saner and colleagues point out that the energy people use to power their homes and to satisfy their mobility needs accounts for more than 70 percent of emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas involved in global climate change. To cope with that problem, policymakers and environmentalists have focused largely on the supply side, for instance, electric power plants, heating systems and cars that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Saner and his team decided to take a close look at the other end of the equation -- how energy consumption for housing and land-based mobility at the household level impacts greenhouse gas emissions.

Their study of more than 3,000 households in a Swiss town found that only 21 percent of the households accounted for almost 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The biggest factors contributing to a few families having a disproportionately large environmental footprint were large living spaces (which use energy for heating, lighting and cooling) and long commutes in private vehicles. "If their emissions could be halved, the total emissions of the community would be reduced by 25 percent," the scientists concluded.

The authors acknowledge funding from the Competence Center for Energy & Mobility and Swisselectric Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dominik Saner, Niko Heeren, Boris Jäggi, Rashid A. Waraich, Stefanie Hellweg. Housing and Mobility Demands of Individual Households and their Life Cycle Assessment. Environmental Science & Technology, 2013; 47 (11): 5988 DOI: 10.1021/es304084p

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626142944.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, June 26). Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626142944.htm
American Chemical Society. "Big environmental footprints: 21 percent of homes account for 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130626142944.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

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