Energy is fundamental to the stability and prosperity of a modern society. Because of energy’s broad presence in our lives, the energy challenges we currently face cannot be disentangled from security and environmental concerns. From balancing energy demand and economic growth to funding the next generation of energy technology, great opportunity and immense challenges exist in understanding the intricacies of the energy field. At NORC, we bring our security, energy, and environmental researchers together, as one interdisciplinary team, to study the most difficult problems touching on all three of these domains.
Since its founding in 1941, NORC and its partners have been concerned with energy use and its broader implications for society. NORC conducted several studies throughout the 1940s that examined food and gas rationing during wartime, later conducting studies of public knowledge and opinions regarding atomic bombs and the potential applications and risks of atomic energy. More recently, NORC’s landmark Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) has served as the most comprehensive source of home energy usage data to date. These data form the foundation for critical programs such as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Energy Star. NORC also collaborates with public and private organizations dedicated to understanding energy, security, and environmental issues, including the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory, the National Institute of Building Science, and others.
The choices made by policy makers, researchers, industry, and the energy consumer in the next five, twenty, and fifty years will have profound effects on the American economy, the livelihood of its people, and the state of the environment in which they live. From determining the efficacy of national investments in basic and applied research, to understanding the ramifications of emerging drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing on people, the environment, and energy markets, energy decision makers face enormous challenges. Relevant and objective data and analysis will be needed to make these complex and important choices. We at NORC believe the foundation for our future is effective decision making – and the foundation for effective decisions is sound data.
Specific areas of expertise include: