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NEEA Releases Comprehensive Residential Energy Study

PORTLAND, Ore., Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (NEEA) has published the first two in a series of reports that will impact the future of residential energy efficiency in the Northwest. The Residential Building Stock Assessment (RBSA) is a comprehensive research study of energy consumption in more than 1,600 Northwest residential buildings. It will establish a regional baseline for single-family, manufactured and multi-family homes that will inform the region's future energy planning efforts.

The final RBSA sample consists of households across the Northwest representing the service areas of ninety-nine utilities: eighty-nine public utilities, seven investor-owned utilities, and three natural gas-only utilities.

NEEA is conducting this study on behalf of more than 100 utilities throughout the Northwest region, including Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The region's utilities, the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Bonneville Power Administration will use the study results to identify opportunities for energy efficiency programs.

"Similar studies were implemented in the early 1990s, and since then, much has changed in the way the region uses energy," said Tom Eckman, manager of conservation resources for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council. "Appliances and HVAC equipment are now more efficient, the region uses more electronics, and many new types of lights are available on the market. Data collected from the study will provide critical support for the Northwest Power and Conservation Council's 7th Power Plan development, as well as updated load shape information for our region."

Utilities, power planning and energy planning experts in the Northwest will also leverage the results of the RBSA to design energy efficiency rebate programs to help the Northwest meet increasing residential energy needs through energy efficiency.

"Together with our funders, NEEA is able to coordinate research that will help utilities around the Northwest develop residential energy efficiency programs and incentives that best meet the changing consumption needs and demands of their customers," said Susan E. Stratton, NEEA's executive director.

The first two reports in the series focus on single-family and manufactured homes and are available online at neea.org. These reports present a comprehensive view of the current state of residential single-family and manufactured stock characteristics through an understanding of the distribution of energy-consuming equipment and lighting.

Some key highlights of the single-family report reveal that:

  • About 57 percent of single-family homes use natural gas for space heating, 49 percent of which surveyed report gas heat as their primary heating fuel.
  • Electricity fuels approximately 55 percent of the water heating use in Domestic Hot Water (DHW) tanks.
  • Lighting audits indicate that total lamp (socket) count, across the region, is approximately 63 lamps per single-family home. This finding compares with the lamp count in the previous 2007 RLW study (RLW 2007a) of 61.5 lamps per home.

Findings from the manufactured homes report included:

  • About 70 percent of manufactured homes use electricity as their primary fuel for space heating, approximately 11 percent of homes surveyed report gas as their primary heating fuel.
  • Electricity dominates about 90 percent of Domestic Hot Water (DHW) fuel use in manufactured homes.
  • The average number of lamps (sockets) across all manufactured homes is 35 per home. The mean saturation of CFLs throughout the manufactured homes in the region is about 28 percent of all lamps.
  • The study suggests uniformity in manufactured homes across the four states, largely a result of preemptive federal standards and the region's energy efficiency programs.

NEEA also conducts periodic regional studies that provide a database of commercial building information for the Northwest. This Commercial Building Stock Assessment (CBSA) is representative of the existing commercial building stock in the region, and provides site-specific information for 2,061 buildings as of the last iteration in 2009.

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