Whether we realize it or not, energy plays a huge part in our daily lives. Many of the resources we have and use run-on energy commodities such as natural gas and electricity. Energy literally “fuels” our lives and because of that, it is important for us to understand what makes it so versatile amongst various industries. In this article, we will dive a little deeper into the ways in which energy is used. The four main sectors that purchase or produce energy include the residential sector, commercial sector, industrial sector, and transportation sector. Included below are examples of the ways in which each sector uses energy.
The residential sector is one in which we are all familiar. This is our home, apartment, or main dwelling place. When we think of our homes, let us think of our daily routine. We wake up, hit snooze on our alarm clock, jump in the shower, and brew a cup of coffee. In these three ways, we have exhausted energy all before 8 a.m. This does not even take into consideration the methods we use for heating/cooling our homes. If you really dig down, almost everything we do incorporates some form of energy consumption. Even as dialed down as the coffee we drink, which is most likely ground and packaged in a factory using natural gas or electricity to fuel its machinery. Let us give a big thanks to energy for producing our morning fuel!
The commercial sector includes the public spaces in which we visit or use on a regular basis. These include office buildings, stores, schools, hospitals, hotels, warehouses, restaurants, places of worship, and places of public assembly. All of these businesses need energy to run efficiently or at all. Without energy, schools would not be able to run their computers or light their hallways, restaurants could not cook food, stores could not operate their registers, and hospitals could not run lifesaving equipment. Based on your occupation, you may interact with some of this equipment on a daily basis. Think how essential it is to the job you do and the part it plays in your day.
The industrial sector includes facilities and equipment used for manufacturing, agriculture, mining, and construction. Natural gas is used in the industrial sector for waste treatment and incineration, metals preheating, drying and dehumidification, glass melting, food processing, fueling industrial boilers, feedstock for manufacturing a number of chemicals and products, and a number of other industry-specific uses. Specifically, in the agriculture arena, natural gas is used in the production and distribution of fertilizers, land irrigation, heating of onsite structures, grain drying, equipment, and transportation vehicles. While many of these processes are behind the scenes, these are some of the most fundamental practices that keep our economy thriving and our world moving forward.
The transportation sector includes vehicles that transport people or goods, such as cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, trains, aircrafts, boats, barges, and ships. We rely on various methods of transportation in our daily lives whether that be directly or indirectly. Directly by using cars to get to work, buses to take our kids to school, and aircrafts to reach our vacation destinations. Indirectly, by trading goods and transporting necessary items from one place to another. The transportation industry continues to broaden its use of natural gas for powering its vehicles. Several different forms of natural gas including LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas), CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), and RNG (Renewable Natural Gas) have proven to be efficient while also providing environmental benefits. These methods provide an equal amount of energy while releasing fewer emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide compared to other fueling methods. For many consumers, the variety of options and lower carbon footprint are a win-win!
These end-use sectors consume energy from primary energy, also purchase, and use most of the electricity (a secondary energy source) the electric power sector produces and sells. The electric power sector consumes primary energy to generate electricity for sale to the other four sectors and for export to Canada and Mexico. The end-use sectors also produce some electricity for their own use (called direct use).
Tracing where and how we use energy in our daily lives is a fun activity to do. At UGI Energy Services, that’s how we want you to view using energy, Fun! Let us handle the details so that you can focus on you!
For more information, check out the EIA’s website: https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/use-of-energy/