Health Indicator Report of Climate Change: Greenhouse Gases
The design and layout of Utah's cities and neighborhoods has a substantial effect on the health of all Utahns. Urban sprawl, inadequate public transportation, and energy inefficient buildings not only affect human health but also have a distinct impact on climate change through the generation of greenhouse gas emissions. More greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide, will disrupt the balance between energy absorbed and energy emitted, causing greater amounts of heat to be trapped at the Earth's surface and ultimately increasing surface temperatures. Excess carbon dioxide emissions is strongly linked to human activities, primarily through the burning of fossil fuels. In fact, most greenhouse gas emissions in the United States come from energy use. Within the United States, carbon dioxide emissions from petroleum and natural gas represent 82% of the total man-made greenhouse gas emissions .
Commercial and residential buildings use an abundance of energy and emit a large amount of carbon dioxide. In the United States, commercial and residential buildings (known as the building sector) use more energy than the transportation and industrial sectors and emit more carbon dioxide than both sectors. As of 1998, the building sector in the United States consumed 36% of the nation's energy and consequently, contributed to 35% of the carbon dioxide emissions . Within the building sector, electricity is a large source of energy consumption, which is fueled primarily by coal. By 2006, 83% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States were generated by the electric power sector . The material used to construct the building, design, and location of buildings all have implications in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. Sustainable building materials and architectural designs that promote energy efficiency help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector. Additionally, electricity used for water, heating, cooling, and lighting produce substantial amounts of carbon dioxide emissions. Engaging in efficient practices when using electricity for these purposes as well as utilizing energy efficient appliances can also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions among the building sector.[[br]]
Greenhouse Gases: Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Building Sector and Year, Utah, 1984-2015
Data SourceU.S. Energy Information Administration, State Carbon Dioxide Emissions
DefinitionGreenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide, all of which play an important role in regulating the Earth's temperature. These gases help create the greenhouse effect, a process in which greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the sun and contain the heat in the atmosphere.
NumeratorCarbon dioxide emissions (as measured in millions of metric tons).
Page Content Updated On 04/23/2018, Published on 04/27/2018