How We Use Energy
We divide our energy use among four economic sectors: residential, commercial, transportation, and industrial. Heating and cooling our homes, lighting office buildings, driving cars and moving freight, and manufacturing the products we rely on in our daily lives are all functions that require energy. If projections are correct, we’re going to keep needing more. In the United States alone, energy consumption is expected to rise 13% over the next two decades. Global consumption is expected to increase by 44% over the same time period.
Understanding EfficiencyLearn the significance of energy efficiency
The Promise of Better LightingEnergy savings through lighting technology
Our Energy SystemA visualization of all our energy sources
- Photovoltaic (PV) Cell
Sometimes referred to as a solar cell, a device that utilizes the photoelectric effect to convert incident sunlight directly into electricity. This can be distinguished from solar thermal energy, which is sometimes used to create electricity indirectly.
Search the National Academies Press website by selecting one of these related terms.
- Real Prospects for Energy Efficiency in the United States (2010)
- Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects, and Impediments (2010)
- Liquid Transportation Fuels from Coal and Biomass: Technological Status, Costs, and Environmental Impacts (2009)
- Effectiveness and Impact of Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) Standards (2002)
- Partnerships for Solid-State Lighting: Report of a Workshop (2002)
- Review of the Research Program of the FreedomCAR and Fuel Partnership: First Report (2005)
- Decreasing Energy Intensity in Manufacturing: Assessing the Strategies and Future Directions of the Industrial Energy Technologies Program (2005)