Lately I’ve been working on my presentation for the 10th anniversary of the North American Passive House Conference. It’s on the global warming impact of insulation, a followup to my latest article about Alex Wilson’s work on that subject.
One of the things I wanted to do was to see what difference it made when a home used “dirty electricity,” with a high carbon intensity, versus a home using “clean electricity.” The Emissions & Generation Resource Integrated Database (eGRID) from the US Environmental Protection Agency has data that’s close to what I was looking for. Let’s take a look.
State-by-state carbon intensity
When you scroll to the bottom of the eGRID page, you’ll see a link for eGRID2012 Data File (XLS). That gets you their full data set. It includes data for more things than I was looking for: It’s got SOx and NOx and mercury and all kinds of good data, split up various ways.
What I wanted was carbon intensity of electricity in the 50 states of the U.S. and different regions, and that was in there. They gave it in units of pounds per megawatt-hour and I wanted kilograms per kilowatt-hour, but that was an easy calculation.
Once I had kilograms of CO2 emissions per kWh of electricity produced in a single column, I could see which states were best and which were worst. The first chart (see Image #2, below) shows those data so you can see easily where your state fits in.
Here in Georgia, I’m in the middle of the pack at about 0.5 kg/kWh. The worst states are Wyoming, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Know what they have in common? The best is Vermont, which is so low you can’t even see the column on this…