Community-wide Energy Use
The charts below show the differences between energy usages among different land use types. Being a primarily residential neighborhood, the majority of total electricity is used in the home, while the remaining energy uses are dispersed among various industries.
The residential sector accounted for 76 percent of electricity consumption in 2016 while the commercial and industrial (C&I) sectors accounted for 24 percent.
In 2016, the residential sector accounted for 78 percent of natural gas consumption while the C&I sectors accounted for 22 percent.
Source: Duke Energy
Natural gas is used for space heating, water heating, and some manufacturing processes. The natural has generated for use in homes in Harlan Township is mostly consumed as space heating, while the other industries represent 22 percent of total natural gas use.
How much energy a community spends on transportation energy is largely dependent on people’s morning routines. Cars remain by far the most popular transit options, particularly in dispersed urban areas and the suburbs.
Source: US Census, American Community Survey
The chart above compares Harlan Township’s preferred transit methods against five peer communities including Turtlecreek, Hamilton, Goshen, Union and Salem Townships. Bicycle and car travel are on par with regional averages, yet, people choosing to work from home in Harlan Township exceeds its peer communities.
The age of homes and businesses has a direct impact on overall energy efficiency. Homes built before 1960 were not designed with energy efficiency in mind. It wasn’t until the energy crisis during the 1970s that homes were built with close attention to the cost of electricity and natural gas.
Knowing the general age of homes and businesses is vital to understanding and managing energy usage. Structures built before the energy crisis generally lacked energy saving features that are taken for granted in modern construction. Below is a chart of the needed improvements to structures built across the decades, with the corresponding cost and savings impact.
Source: Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance
Select energy efficient installations are more cost effective than others. For example, adequate air sealing didn’t become common place, until recently. Cold or hot air penetration is prevalent in homes constructed before 1940, based on the materials used. Energy efficient sealing can be an energy efficient improvement, in these cases, with relatively low costs to homeowners.
Another issue with older homes is the lack of insulation throughout. Areas of the home like attics, basements and walls were not insulated in early 20th century homes. Insulating areas like attics and unfinished spaces can trap heat or cold air, drastically improving the energy efficiency of homes.
Energy burden is the percentage of a household’s income that is spent on energy. Energy Burden scores over one indicate the census block experiences greater Energy Burden than the average for the community. In the case of this map, the data is organized by census blocks and represents the combined total of energy cost, electricity and natural gas.
Building age and transportation have an influence on the degree of energy burden a particular census tract experiences. The weight of a localized energy burden also depends on the income level of the residents. Homes in lower-income, residential areas tend to be older and less energy efficient, compounding the impact on renters and homeowners.