Energy end use

This entry was compiled, edited and written by: Cutler Cleveland

Energy end use refers to the use of energy to perform some desired physical function to a customer by a given energy service, such as heating, cooling, lighting, or mechanical work. Energy end use is usually described in terms of the major sectors of the economy where energy is used. In an industrial or developed economy, these sectors are industry, transportation, residences, and commercial buildings.

 U.S.E.P.ACompact fluorescent bulbs reduce household energy use compared to incandescent bulbs. Credit: U.S.E.P.AThe industrial sector consists of all facilities and equipment used for producing, processing, or assembling goods, and encompasses manufacturing, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, mining (including oil and gas extraction), and construction. Industry uses about 27 percent of all the energy in the world; in the U.S, industry uses about one-third of energy.  Among the most energy-intensive industries are those that manufacture petroleum and coal products, chemicals, paper and wood products, steel, and aluminum.  The petroleum refining industry uses energy both to supply heat and power for plant operations and as a raw material for the production of petrochemicals and other non-fuel products. The steel industry uses energy sources both to supply heat and power for plant operations and as a raw material for the production of coal coke for use in blast furnaces.

Transportation energy use covers road, railway, aviation, and fuels used for transport of materials by pipeline. Cars, vans, and buses are commonly used to carry people. Trucks, airplanes, and trains can be used to carry people and freight. Barges and pipelines only carry freight.  Transportation uses about 28 percent of energy in the world and about the same fraction in the U.S. Gasoline is used mainly by cars, motorcycles, and light trucks; diesel is used mainly by heavier trucks, buses, and trains. Together, gasoline and diesel make up 84% of all the energy used in transportation in the U.S.

In many industrial nations there is currently a push to develop vehicles that run on blended fuels or fuels other than petroleum products. Today, there are some vehicles that run on electricity, natural gas, propane, and ethanol.  Hybrid-electric vehicles combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors by reducing the amount of fuel required to move a vehicle. This is why hybrid-electric vehicles can get more miles per gallon of gasoline compared to vehicles that run on gasoline alone.

Energy is used in residences for things such as space heating and cooling, water heating, refrigeration, lighting and appliances. About 22% of total U.S. energy use occurs in residences. Natural gas is the most widely consumed energy source in U.S. homes, followed by electricity, heating oil, and propane. Natural gas and heating oil (fuel oil) are used mainly for home heating. Electricity may also be used for heating and cooling, plus it lights our homes and runs almost all of our appliances including refrigerators, toasters, and computers. Many homes in rural areas use propane for heating, while others use it to fuel their barbecue grills.


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