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Title: Energy, Carbon-emission and Financial Savings from Thermostat Control

Among the easiest approaches to energy, and cost, savings for most people is the adjustment of thermostats to save energy. Here we estimate savings of energy, carbon, and money in the United States of America (USA) that would result from adjusting thermostats in residential and commercial buildings by about half a degree Celsius downward during the heating season and upward during the cooling season. To obtain as small a unit as possible, and therefore the least likely to be noticeable by most people, we selected an adjustment of one degree Fahrenheit (0.56 degree Celsius) which is the gradation used almost exclusively on thermostats in the USA and is the smallest unit of temperature that has been used historically. Heating and/or cooling of interior building space for personal comfort is sometimes referred to as space conditioning, a term we will use for convenience throughout this work without consideration of humidity. Thermostat adjustment, as we use the term here, applies to thermostats that control the indoor temperature, and not to other thermostats such as those on water heaters. We track emissions of carbon only, rather than of carbon dioxide, because carbon atoms change atomic partners as they move through the carbon cycle,more » from atmosphere to biosphere or ocean and, on longer time scales, through the rock cycle. To convert a mass of carbon to an equivalent mass of carbon dioxide (thereby including the mass of the 2 oxygen atoms in each molecule) simply multiply by 3.67.« less
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. ORNL
  2. University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
KP1704030; ERKP176
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Sponsoring Org:
SC USDOE - Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
zero energy house; heating degree days; thermostat; carbon emissions