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Americans are working and shopping from home, and it saves energy

A new study has found that Americans are spending more time at home, and it has resulted in a substantial amount of saved energy.

Researchers found that more and more people are working from home, shopping online, and streaming media online, which has resulted in energy savings of 1,700 trillion British Thermal Units (bTU) in the year 2012. To put this figure into perspective, it accounts for 1.8% of the national total.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Texas at Austin and Rochester Institute of Technology and published in the journal Joule.

Even though energy demand in residential spaces increased with more people at home, there was still a net gain in energy and less energy demand in office and non-residential areas.

For the study, researchers focused on two aspects of characterizing lifestyle, the first being how people spend money on goods and services, and the second being how and where people spend their time.

The researchers collected data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual American Time Use Survey, in which an estimated 11,000 people report on how they allocate their time.

After analyzing the data, the research team found that Americans spent an average of 8 more days at home, 1 day less traveling, and 1 week less in non-residential buildings in 2012 compared to 2003.

The changes were most apparent in younger demographics, as people ages 18-24 spent 70 percent more time at home than most everyone else.

The researchers then mapped energy use, taking into account the more time spent at home.

In 2012, these changes resulted in both an increase in residential energy use of 480 trillion bTU and a decrease in energy in non-residential spaces of 1,200 trillion bTU.

The reason for the significant drop in energy use in non-residential spaces could be related to the amount of time spent online and how many more people work from home compared to previous years.

“This work raises awareness of the connection between lifestyle and energy,” said Ashok Sekar, the study’s first author. “Now that we know people are spending more time at home, more focus could be put on improving residential energy efficiency.”

By Kay Vandette, Staff Writer

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