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Earth Day: April 22, 2014

Published: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 10:40 a.m. CDT

April 22 marks the 44th anniversary of Earth Day — a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment. The day came from reaction to a massive oil spill in waters near Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1969. In honor of Earth Day — and Earth Week (April 16-22) — this includes examples of Census Bureau statistics pertaining to energy and the environment.

Heating and cooling the home

2.4 million: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country heated by wood in 2012, which is 2.1 percent of all homes.

42,747: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country totally heated by solar energy in 2012.

57.0 million: Estimated number of occupied housing units across the country heated by utility gas in 2012, which is 49.4 percent of all homes.

89 percent: Estimated percent of newly built single-family homes across the country with air-conditioning in 2012. In 1973, it was 49 percent.

Commuting to work

25.7 minutes: Estimated average time for workers age 16 and older across the country spent getting to work in 2012, up from 25.5 minutes in 2011 and 25.3 minutes in 2010.

31.9 and 31.8 minutes: Estimated average time for workers age 16 and older in Maryland and New York spent getting to work in 2012, the longest commute time in the nation. Maryland’s time is down from 32.2 minutes in 2011.

16.7 and 17.4 minutes: Estimated average time workers age 16 and older in South Dakota and North Dakota spent getting to work in 2012, the shortest one-way commute times in the nation.

864,883: Estimated number of people who rode a bicycle to work in 2012. This comes out to about 0.6 percent of the American workforce.

3,969,058: Estimated number of people who walked to work in 2012. This comes out to about 2.8 percent of the American workforce.

Working in the nuclear and forestry fields

50,778: Number of workers employed in nuclear electric power generation (NAICS 221113) across the United States in 2011, up from 49,174 in 2010. They had an average salary of $111,750, up from $109,021 in 2010.

53,034: Number of workers employed in forestry and logging (NAICS 113) across the United States in 2011, down from 53,525 in 2010. They had an average salary of $37,986, up from $37,215 in 2010.

Using energy

18,817 trillion Btu: The energy consumption in the U.S. manufacturing sector in 2010, down 17 percent from the 22,576 trillion Btu (British thermal units) consumed in 2002.

-32 percent: The drop in the consumption of coal in the U.S. manufacturing sector from 2002 to 2010, going from 1,956 trillion Btu in 2002 down to 1,328 trillion Btu consumed in 2010.

Building a house

2,505 square feet: The average size of a single-family home completed in 2012; 63,000 had two or fewer bedrooms and 198,000 had four bedrooms or more.

$292,200: The average sales price of a new single-family home sold in 2012. In 2011, the average sales price of a single-family home sold was $267,900.

9,000: The number of multifamily buildings built across the United States in 2012. Of these, 6,000 used electricity as the primary heating fuel.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

$7.6 billion: Product shipments value of recycled paperboard in 2011. This is up from $7.2 billion in 2010.

Collecting revenue

$1.2 billion: Estimated revenue for “waste collection - hazardous waste management collection services” in 2012 for estimated sources of revenue for U.S. employer firms. This was down 13.1 percent from 2011.

5.7 billion: Estimated revenue for “waste treatment and disposal - hazardous waste treatment and disposal services” in 2012 for estimated sources of revenue for U.S. employer firms. This was down 5.1 percent from 2011.

$8.2 billion: Estimated revenue for “waste collection - hazardous waste management collection services” in 2012 for estimated sources of revenue for U.S. employer firms. This was down 13.1 percent from 2011.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. 

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