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New ULTRANS Report: Updating the PECAS Modeling Framework to Include Energy Use Data for Buildings

Building operations account for an important portion of total energy consumption. This study investigated the consumption of electricity and natural gas for building operations across several categories of residential and non-residential buildings. The purpose of the study was to update the Production Exchange Consumption Allocation System (PECAS) land use modeling framework to include energy use components. The approach served as part of an urban metabolism framework, creating a methodology to account for environmental and energy balances of cities and complex regions.

This study focused on Los Angeles County, the most populous county in California. Annual electricity and natural gas consumption data from Los Angeles County utility companies were used to build a database of energy consumption in buildings, based on almost 450,000 Energy Analysis Zones. Additional data on building stock, climate zones, topography, and sociodemographics were collected from multiple sources and integrated into the energy database.

We conducted a statistical analysis of utility data and estimated linear regression models to predict energy consumption in buildings. Electricity and natural gas consumption in residential and non-residential buildings were studied in relation to several variables, including building type, building size, and climate zone. We modeled annual energy consumption for various types of residential units and electricity and natural gas consumption per square foot of developed floorspace for various categories of non-residential buildings.

The results were validated against independent sources, including the California Energy Commission's California Residential Appliance Saturation Study (RASS) and the Commercial End-Use Survey (CEUS).

This study was used to update the PECAS land use modeling framework, and formed part of a baseline study estimating energy and greenhouse gas balances in an urban metabolism framework supporting the analysis of environmental impacts in complex urban regions. The results also allowed us to estimate the total energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions for residential and commercial building operations through applying the results to the total residential and commercial building inventory in the region. The results are applicable to the evaluation of possible energy savings in buildings.

Giovanni Circella (gcircella@ucdavis.edu)
Robert A. Johnston
Andrew Holguin
Eric Lehmer
Yang Wang
Michael McCoy

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