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Regional Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

Tracking energy use, energy expenditures, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is the first step in developing informed regional and local policies to increase energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions. DVRPC periodically inventories our region's energy use, energy expenditures, and GHG emissions. This inventory is allocated to the region's counties and municipalities. DVRPC's most recent inventory is for calendar year 2010 (the most recent year for which all data are available), and updates the 2005 baseline inventory. Regional and county totals are discussed below.

DVRPC also developed a map-based web tool to provide users with a multi-page summary of energy use and GHG emissions for any municipality in the region. Please contact DVRPC's Office of Energy and Climate Change Initiatives if you would like more detailed information or additional guidance on how to use these results.

DVRPC will produce a document describing the inventory methods and data sources in detail. DVRPC anticipates this document will be completed by the end of 2014.

Our Region's Energy Use and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

DVRPC's most recent inventory estimates energy use, energy expenditures, and GHG emissions for 2010. DVRPC calculated energy use and GHG emissions associated with the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors, as well as several transportation sectors (on-road transportation, passenger and freight rail, aviation, marine transportation, and off-road vehicles). DVRPC also included non-energy emissions resulting from waste management (solid waste and wastewater), agriculture processes (both animal and plant related), non-energy-related emissions from industrial processes, and fugitive and process emissions from fuel systems (natural gas systems and petroleum systems). These categories are similar to those used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks.

In 2010, these activities resulted in the use of 1,290 trillion BTUs of energy and the emission of GHGs equivalent to the release of 83 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. About 90 percent of these emissions resulted from energy consumption, including stationary energy consumption by the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors and mobile energy consumption by the transportation sector. In 2010, the region expended an estimated $23 billion on energy. Fugitive and process emissions from fuel systems accounted for 5.2 percent of total emissions. Industrial processes and waste management each accounted for an additional 2.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively. Agricultural processes accounted for less than 1 percent of total emissions. When the net change in carbon stocks in the region's trees is taken into account, the region's total emissions are slightly lower, at 81 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent (MMTCO2e).

Table 1. Summary of Regional Energy Consumption - 2010
Source: DVRPC, 2014

SourceEnergy Use (Trillion BTUs)Percent of Total
Commercial & Industrial58245.2%
Residential36328.2%
Mobile34226.6%
Total Energy Use1,290100%

Note: Entries do not add to total due to rounding.

Table 2. Summary of Regional Greenhouse Gas Emissions - 2010
Source: DVRPC, 2014

SourceGreenhouse Gas Emissions (MMTCO2e)Percent of Total
Stationary Energy Use: Commercial & Industrial29.936.0%
Mobile Energy Use26.131.4%
Stationary Energy Use: Residential18.522.3%
Fuel Refining, Transmission, and Distribution4.35.2%
Industrial Processes2.22.7%
Waste Management1.61.9%
Agriculture0.40.5%
Total Emissions (Gross)83100%
Land Use, Land Use Change, & Forestry(1.9) 
Total Emissions (Net)81.1 

Based on DVRPC's allocation of energy use to the region's counties, activity in Philadelphia used the most energy, with 293 trillion BTUs. Activity in Gloucester County consumed the least energy, with 86 trillion BTUs. However, Philadelphia had the lowest energy use per capita with 130 million BTUs used per person/job*, while Gloucester County had the highest energy use per capita at 212 million BTUs per person/job. Higher per capita energy use in Gloucester County results, in part, from substantial energy use by the county's commercial and industrial sector and a residential population which is lower than other counties in the region. Diffuse development of larger homes, resulting in longer commutes and more driving, also plays a role.

Figure 1. Energy Use by County, 2010
Source: DVRPC, 2014

Figure 2: Energy Use Per Capita by County, 2010
Source: DVRPC, 2014

Activity in Philadelphia resulted in the highest GHG emissions, with 19.0 MMTCO2e. Activity in Gloucester and Mercer County resulted in the lowest emissions, with 5.38 MMTCO2e each. Camden County had the lowest emissions per capita, with 8.2 metric tons of CO2e per person/job, while Gloucester County had the highest emissions per capita, 14.0 metric tons of CO2e per person/job. Again, higher per capita GHG emissions in Gloucester County result, in part, from substantial energy use by the county's commercial and industrial sector and emissions resulting from that use, but is further increased by industrial process and fugitive (non-energy consumption) emissions from petroleum refining facilities located in the county. Diffuse development again also plays a role.

Figure 3. Greenhouse Gas Emissions by County
Source: DVRPC, 2014

Figure 4: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Per Capita by County
Source: DVRPC, 2014

Altogether, regional GHG emissions accounted for about 1.2 percent of gross national GHG emissions. With 1.8 percent of the nation's population in 2010, per capita GHG emissions in the DVRPC region were about one third lower than in the nation as a whole. Municipal allocations demonstrate that communities with walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods; near transit infrastructure; and with smaller houses tend to use less energy and produce lower GHG emissions per capita.

DVRPC estimates that net emissions decreased by about 13 percent, from 93 MMTCO2e to 81 MMTCO2e, between 2005 and 2010. This overall decrease reflects decreases in all major use sectors, with the largest decreases in GHG emissions associated with stationary energy use by the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors. Regional energy use decreased approximately four percent, from 1,340 trillion BTUs to 1,290 trillion BTUs. Energy use decreased by five percent in the residential sector and almost 11 percent in the mobile use category, while increasing by over one percent in the combined commercial and industrial sector.

These differences in energy use and GHG emissions likely resulted from a number of factors, including a slowed economy, a reduction in the percentage of electricity produced from coal versus cleaner fuels, and an increase in motor vehicle fuel economy. However, without more information, it is difficult to determine which of these decreases resulted from permanent changes in practices and efficiencies between 2005 and 2010 and which merely resulted from reduced production in a slowed economy or from variation in the source data.

DVRPC will continue to use these inventory results to shape its work to develop policies and programs to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the region. DVRPC will also use these results to support inventory efforts at the county and municipality level, as well as to support regional analysis of where investments in energy conservation and efficiency and emissions reduction may be most productively made.

Additional Resources

Energy Use per Person/Job by Municipality (2010)
Map of Energy Use Per Capita by Municipality [0.6 MB pdf] (click to enlarge)
GHG Emissions per Person/Job by Municipality (2010)
Map of GHG Emissions Per Capita by Municipality [0.6 MB pdf] (click to enlarge)
 

* DVRPC combines population and jobs to serve as the basis for a modified per capita calculation that reflects both the energy demands of households and businesses.