Energy use by appliances and consumer electronics increases in U.S. homes


Washington, DC, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — April 4, 2011 – Over the past three decades, the share of residential electricity used by home appliances and electronic devices in U.S. homes has almost doubled from 17 percent to 31 percent – this while energy efficiency standards have been enacted on every major appliance and energy use per household has fallen almost one-third.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), in 2009 almost 80 percent of homes in the U.S. had two or more TVs, and around three-quarters had at least one computer, with almost half of these having multiple computers. Further 90 percent had at least one rechargeable electronic device, while 40 percent had four or more rechargeable devices.

Between 1978 and 2009 the number of homes in the U.S. grew by 45 percent, from 76.6 million to 111.1 million. However, due to a reduction in the energy needed to heat the homes – due largely to the improved energy efficiency of heating equipment along with better window design and insulation – and other efficiency improvements, the total residential energy consumption remained virtually the same.

The increase in the purchase and use of household appliances is due to the improvement in living standards, and for example the proportion of households with clothes washers increased from 74 percent to 82 percent, while the proportion with dishwashers increased from 35 percent to 59 percent. Notably too, the share of households with central air conditioning also increased, almost tripling from 23 percent in 1978 to 61 percent in 2009.

The survey also noted that since 1978 U.S. homes on average have become larger, and they have fewer occupants.