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Los Angeles County Building Energy Use and GHG Baseline Assessment

UCD-ITS-RR-12-38

Research Report

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Suggested Citation:
Circella, Giovanni, Andrew Holguin, Robert A. Johnston, Eric Lehmer, Yang Wang, Michael McCoy (2012) Los Angeles County Building Energy Use and GHG Baseline Assessment. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-12-38

Building operations account for an important portion of total energy consumption. This study investigates the consumption of electricity and natural gas for building operations for several categories of residential and non-residential buildings. The proposed approach serves as part of an urban metabolism framework, creating a methodology to account for environmental and energy balances of cities and complex regions. We analyze electricity and natural gas consumption data from utility companies operating in Los Angeles County. Utility data are used to build an energy database to study energy consumption in buildings, based on the analysis of almost 450,000 Energy Analysis Zones, created from the overlap of the various levels of spatial aggregation in the database. The energy database integrates additional data on the building stock, climate zones, geomorphological data, and sociodemographics collected from multiple sources. We conduct statistical analysis of utility data and estimate linear regression models to predict energy consumption for building operations. Electricity and natural gas consumption in residential and non-residential buildings are studied in relation to several variables, including building use type, building size, and climate zone. Energy profiles are created for several categories of buildings. Annual energy consumption is estimated for various types of residential units. Electricity and natural gas consumption per square foot of developed floorspace is estimated for various categories of non-residential buildings. We validate the results of the analyses through validity checks carried out using data from independent sources, including the California Residential Appliance Saturation Study (RASS) and the Commercial End-Use Survey (CEUS), given the limited amount of energy data provided by the utility companies, to date, and the lack of overlapping data for the consumption of both electricity and natural gas in the same zones. The results of the study are useful to inform researchers on energy consumption patterns for residential and non-residential buildings in Los Angeles County and form part of the baseline study to estimate energy and greenhouse gas balances in an urban metabolism framework for the analysis of the environmental impacts of complex urban regions. The results allow us to estimate the total energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions associated with residential and commercial building operations through the application of the estimated energy profiles to the total residential and commercial building inventory in the region. Finally, the results of the baseline assessment on energy consumption for building operations are useful for the evaluation of possible energy savings that can be achieved through the development of dedicated policies for new and existing buildings.