There is active international, national, state, and local dialogue on policy considerations pertaining to future pathways for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. GTI is undertaking extensive efforts related to energy efficiency improvements for end-use equipment and building envelopes coupled with measures to decarbonize energy resources.
GTI has produced a slate of reports and resources for Black Hills Energy that focus primarily on energy use and future residential GHG reduction pathways. In these analyses, natural gas and electricity – the two main residential energy choices – are reviewed in terms of the current market situation and potential future pathways for GHG reductions using natural gas or electricity or hybrid approaches employing both energy options.
These reports encompass a wide body of knowledge, experience, and insights GTI has on how energy is used in homes and how full-cycle energy and environmental analysis can provide a broader view of potential impacts and implications when pursuing GHG reductions. This includes quantitative assessment of residential consumer economic impacts (e.g., capital costs and annual energy costs) and societal benefits and costs (e.g., GHG reduction and $/metric CO2 reduction) stemming from various future gas and electric scenarios in select states and cities.
Analyzing Future Residential Energy Use Scenarios in Leading Low-Carbon Regions
This report summarizes research performed to quantify the energy use, environmental impact, and cost-trade-offs of potential governmental policy scenarios for residential energy use in California and New York.
Specifically, the analysis focuses on the role of natural gas and electricity in traditional home applications: space heating, water heating, cooking, and clothes drying. In these energy use scenarios, the potential implications for consumers and society are explored, with an emphasis on the cost and constraints of residential electrification.
Award-Winning Energy Planning Analysis Tool (EPAT)
The publicly available Energy Planning Analysis Tool (EPAT) software provides regional U.S. estimates of site and full-cycle energy consumption, capital, and operating costs for several residential energy applications (e.g. space heating, water heating, cooking, clothes drying and other home energy uses) and full-cycle emissions (e.g. NOx, CO2, methane, and others).
The software allows the user to select a wide range of residential technologies for a pair-wise comparison of two home energy use scenarios: baseline and alternative. The pair-wise analysis can be repeated with different assumptions to craft a range of scenarios. The American Gas Association has supported the addition of a new feature that adds Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to the tool.
The tool won the Domestic Utilization Innovation Award at the 2018 World Gas Conference (WGC) and was used as a resource on a paper comparing direct gas use and electrification in California and New York.
Providing Sound Science to Support Source-to-Site Energy Efficiency Standards
GTI is working to inform code and regulatory initiatives and the public review process regarding total fuel cycle impacts. With support from the Carbon Management Information Center (a gas industry collaborative), GTI has provided important technical information regarding the benefits of source energy—which measures energy consumption from the point of origin to the point of use and includes energy losses that occur with conversion and distribution—and greenhouse gas methodologies. In 2011, the U.S. DOE announced a statement of policy adopting full-fuel-cycle measures of energy use in its Energy Conservation Standards Program used for national impact analyses. Source energy is now included in the final version of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), published in the spring of 2012. GTI is working with the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to include source energy in a suite of major building codes.
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