Energy efficiency offsets U.S. household growth

According to the Feb. 18 "Today in Energy" report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, per-household use of energy in the U.S. has been on the decline since the 1980s due to advances in energy efficiency. The EIA analyzed data collected since 1980 as part of its Residential Energy Consumption Survey, and found that although American homes had grown larger and more numerous during this time, there had not been equivalent growth in overall energy use across the country.

Between 1980 and 2009, the total amount of energy delivered for use to U.S. households increased from 9.3 quadrillion BTU to 10.2 quadrillion BTU, but based on the growth in household size and number during that time period, a much larger increase might have been expected. By separating out the effects of different factors, such as weather and structural changes, from the data, the researchers determined that the energy intensity of each household had declined by about 37 percent since 1980, largely due to energy-efficient home technologies.

In all, improvements in energy intensity were able to offset about 70 percent of the growth in the number and size of households since 1980, and would have been able to offset even more if consumers had not increasingly preferred larger homes and more energy-using appliances and devices. The explosion in the sale of home computers happened during this time period, as did the birth of the McMansion and the large-screen TV. Without those developments, we would most likely be using less energy, collectively, than we did in the 80s. 

If you're interested in investigating energy efficiency options for your own home, contact Alban Inspections to schedule an energy audit today. We will give you suggestions for energy efficiency updates tailored to your particular home.