Residential and Commercial (R&C) Sectors

  • Roger James Kuhns
  • George H. Shaw


The residential and commercial sectors of energy use are dominated by the need for electricity, space heating and cooling, and nonindustrial uses. A concern is that household efficiencies in energy use have slowed in improvements. Housing units, of which there are over 135 million in the United States, are being built larger and larger, so some of the efficiency that could be counted as a total fuel savings per household has been lost due to a larger heating and cooling volume. The use of the voluntary certification system LEED is recommended and can be incorporated into new legislation on the federal, state, and municipal level. Commercial energy use is similar to that of residential, and new buildings can be LEED certified if the application of sustainable practices is achieved.

The residential and commercial sectors are discussed together here because their uses are similar: needs for electricity, space heating and cooling, and nonindustrial level of mechanization and energy requirements. The residentia sector comprises 23% and commercial sector 19% of the energy market (Fig. 4.1). They are separately smaller than either transportation or industrial energy use. Approximately 75% of electricity use goes to R&C (Fig. 4.2). Note that the following discussion does not charge R&C for electrical system losses from thermodynamic limitations or transmission losses. Non-electricity consumption by R&C is mainly in the form of natural gas, with oil and coal being used locally and regionally to a much smaller extent.


Residential Commercial Space heating Cooling/air conditioning Electricity Lighting LEED Energy Star Consumption Cogeneration 


  1. Bachman D, Barua A (2015) U.S. Census for single person households and changing American family: U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed 5 Oct. 2016
  2. Desilver D (2015) American homes get bigger – efficiency gains are wiped out: Pew Research Center. Accessed 5 Oct. 2016
  3. LEED (2017) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Accessed 16 Aug. 2017
  4. EIA (2010) Annual Energy Outlook 2010: Energy Info. Administration. Accessed 25 Oct. 2016
  5. EIA (2013) Use of Energy in the United States Explained – Energy Use in Homes: Energy Info. Administration. explained/?page=us_energy_homes. Accessed 21 Oct. 2016
  6. EIA (2016) Monthly Energy Review: Energy Information Administration. Accessed 9 Mar. 2017

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger James Kuhns
    • 1
  • George H. Shaw
    • 2
  1. 1.SustainAudit, LLCMysticUSA
  2. 2.Geology DepartmentUnion CollegeSchenectadyUSA

Personalised recommendations