Residential Energy Consumption: How We Use Energy

residential energy consumption

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average home spends $2,000 on energy costs per year for a 1,971-square foot home. Adopting energy-efficient technologies will not only lower your monthly expenditures, it can also improve occupant comfort, as well as quality of life.

Here’s a closer look at residential energy consumption along with some ideas to improve your home’s efficiency.

Heating and Cooling

Nearly half – 40% – of the average home’s utility bill goes towards heating and cooling. Switching from a manual to a programmable thermostat is an easy way to efficiently control the climate in your home. With a programmable thermostat, you can set the temperature to different, desirable levels during set times throughout the week. This can save you up to 10% a year on heating and cooling costs.

Water Heating

Water heating accounts for about 18% of your home’s energy use. Reducing your water use, and employing energy-saving strategies, such as installing a tankless or demand-type water heater and low-flow fixtures can help you reduce your monthly water heating bills.

When shopping for a new water heater, it’s important to calculate your household’s hot water demand to determine what size water heater you’ll need, ensuring there’s enough hot water to go around. You should also consider setting your water temperature to a comfortable 120˚F.

Finally, if your hot water heater is warm to the touch, consider insulating it to save up to 16% annually in water heating costs. Follow manufacturer recommendations.


The average household has more than 20 electronics for a variety of purposes, such as daily work or school, entertainment and communication. Using energy-efficient products, those with the ENERGY STAR label, can save you money and prolong the life of your products. Many electronics continue to draw power, even when they’re turned off, so a surge protector can save an addition $100/year when you turn it off each night.


Switching out five of your most frequently used lights with ENERGY STAR bulbs can save $75 a year on energy costs. Using automatic timers, motion sensors, and smart light bulbs to automatically turn lights on and off can also help you save money. Smart bulbs coupled with phone apps, afford you the opportunity to control your lights when you’re not home. You can also dim them without having to install dimmer switches.

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