Heating & Cooling No Longer Majority of U.S. Home Energy Use

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Now that we’re entering the warmer months, it’s tempting to crank up the ol’  air conditioner, but the high cost of electricity will have many of us biding our time. When money is tight, people often sweat out the heat a little longer to cut energy costs and keep more money in the bank. For decades, the home’s heating and cooling accounted for more than half of all residential energy usage. But that’s starting to change.

Estimates from the most recent Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), collected in 2010 and 2011 show that 48 percent of energy consumption in U.S. homes was for heating and cooling, down from 58 percent in 1993. The trend is largely the result of more efficient HVAC equipment, better insulation, more efficient windows, and population shifts to warmer climates. And it’s notable that this shift in how energy is consumed has occurred even as per-household energy consumption has steadily declined.

On the other hand, while energy used for air conditioning has declined, energy consumption for appliances and electronics continues to rise. Although some appliances such as refrigerators and clothes washers have become more efficient, it’s actually the increased number of devices that consume energy in homes that has offset the efficiency gains. Energy use for appliances, electronics, water heating and lighting now accounts for 52 percent of total consumption, up from 42 percent in 1993. 

So, as our dads used to gripe at us for running the air too cold or for leaving a window open to heat “the whole neighborhood” , maybe this generation of parents should reset its targets. But don’t worry. With all the TVs, PlayStations, Blu-ray machines and X-Boxes, parents should still have plenty to gripe about.

— M. Weber

P.S. — Despite the new energy trend, 48 percent of a home’s energy still goes to space conditioning — and that’s a huge chunk. Weather-sealing your home is a great way to reduce heat loss/gain and cut down on energy bills. Here are three EHT links for better energy efficiency in the home:

  • How to Install Aluminum Weather-Stripping — click HERE
  • Update Your Insulation to Save Energy and Heating Costs — click HERE
  • For Top-Quality Sealants for Inside and Outside the Home, Visit our friends at SASHCO, makers of superior products such as Big Stretch and Lexel sealant.


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