EIA Study Reveals Home Energy Usage and Efficiency Trends

While most home appliances have become more efficient over the past 30 years, the average U.S. household uses many more consumer electronics (e.g., personal computers, televisions and related devices), according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in the latest update to its Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS).

Notable trends in household energy characteristics include the following:

• Of the 114 million U.S. homes, 76 percent had at least one computer, 8 percent more than four years prior. Thirty-five percent had multiple computers.
• Energy-efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are present in 68 million homes.
• Of all U.S. homes in the study, 44 percent had three or more televisions. Screen size and average energy consumption per television continue to grow.

This new information on the ways Americans use energy is the first release of 2009 data from the RECS, which EIA has conducted periodically since 1979.

Historically, EIA has reported household energy data for the U.S. Census Regions and Divisions, and the four most populous states: California, Texas, New York and Florida. By tripling the number of households contacted in the 2009 RECS, EIA has expanded the household data series to include 12 more states: Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Arizona, Missouri, Wisconsin and Colorado.

The larger RECS supports new energy-use comparisons between states:

• Almost half (48 percent) of households in Wisconsin use separate freezers, but only 14 percent of households in Massachusetts do the same.
• Of all households in Tennessee, 12 percent use front-loading clothes washers in their home, half as many households as in neighboring Virginia (24 percent). Front-loading clothes washers use much less water and energy than traditional, top-loading models.

EIA will continue to release information on home energy characteristics from the RECS 2009. Related statistics on energy consumption and expenditures for the same households will be released next year.
The initial RECS 2009 household energy characteristics data can be found at www.eia.gov/consumption/residential.

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