Energy intensity is defined as the amount of energy used to produce a given level of output or activity. Using less energy to produce a product or provide a service results in reduced energy intensity.
As part of a national priority for improving energy efficiency, the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has established a national system of indicators to track changes in the energy intensity of our economy and economic sectors over time.
This system of energy intensity indicators can do the following:
- Show how the intensity of energy use and its components are changing
- Help raise public awareness about how and why energy intensity has changed over the years
- Complement other provided inputs to policy and program analyses, including improved understanding of the impact of program and policy choices on energy intensity
- Improve understanding of the role of efficiency improvements in changing energy markets.
This information on energy intensity indicators can be used to consistently track changes in U.S. energy intensity over time, for the entire economy as well as for specific end-use sectors—the four end-use sectors (transportation, industrial, residential, and commercial) and electricity generation (see Highlights).
The current system of energy intensity indicators provides:
- Indexes of energy intensity from 1970 to 2011 that reflect changes in the efficiency of energy use, as feasible with currently available data
- Energy intensity, energy use, and activity measures at the economywide level, sector level (transportation, industrial, residential buildings, and commercial buildings), and at even more disaggregated levels, where data permit
- Downloadable spreadsheets with detailed data and energy intensity indexes for each major end-use sector and associated subsectors.