Assessing Renewable Energy Futures for a Planned New Urban Development

Authors: Miles Hauser*, Furman University
Topics: Energy, Sustainability Science
Keywords: Residential energy, geothermal, sustainability science, greenhouse gas accounting
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Residential energy use makes up 20% of total U.S. energy consumption by end-use sectors. For homes, space heating contributes 80% of household energy consumption and in the U.S., the main sources of energy used for space heating are natural gas and fuel oil. Conventional fossil fuel sources produce anywhere from 1.2 to 36 times the amount of CO2 emissions than renewable sources, depending on the energy source. To further explore these issues, we present a case study of a suburban development in Greenville, South Carolina that is exploring geothermal applications for home energy use. We quantified the total projected emissions avoided through the use of geothermal heat pumps, to provide space heating and cooling, and water heating for the homes of the development. We constructed three future scenarios based on potential energy sources for the homes’ space conditioning and water heating, and we compared their respective total and avoided emissions (MTCO2e). We found that the utilization of geothermal heat pumps for space conditioning and water heating produces the greatest potential for avoided emissions, but that their impact is minimized if their application is limited to water heating or if few homes adopt them. We conclude with recommendations for practice, including using geothermal heat pumps for all homes, for space conditioning as well as water heating.

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