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U.S. Home Electricity Use Declines for 3rd Straight Year


Business  (tags: economy, americans, environment, energy, electricity, sustainabledevelopment, SustainableDevelopment, greenbuilding, society, oil, devices, gadgets )

Michael
- 2022 days ago - cbc.ca
The average amount of electricity consumed in US homes has fallen to levels last seen more than a decade ago, back when the smartest device in people's pockets was a Palm pilot and anyone talking about a tablet was probably an archaeologist or a preacher.



   

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Michael O (176)
Monday December 30, 2013, 7:56 pm
Because of more energy-efficient housing, appliances and gadgets, power usage is on track to decline in 2013 for the third year in a row, to its lowest point since 2001, even though our lives are more electrified.

Here's a look at what has changed since the last time consumption was so low:

Better homes

In the early 2000s, as energy prices rose, more states adopted or toughened building codes to force builders to better seal homes so heat or air-conditioned air doesn't seep out so fast. That means newer homes waste less energy.

Also, insulated windows and other building technologies have dropped in price, making retrofits of existing homes more affordable. In the wake of the financial crisis, billions of dollars in Recovery Act funding was directed toward home-efficiency programs.

Better gadgets

Big appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners have gotten more efficient thanks to federal energy standards that get stricter ever few years as technology evolves.

A typical room air conditioner one of the biggest power hogs in the home uses 20 per cent less electricity per hour of full operation than it did in 2001, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

Central air conditioners, refrigerators, dishwashers, water heaters, washing machines and dryers also have gotten more efficient.

Other devices are using less juice, too. Some 40-inch LED televisions bought today use 80 per cent less power than the cathode ray tube televisions of the past. Some use just $8 worth of electricity over a year when used five hours a day less than a 60-watt incandescent bulb would use.

Those incandescent light bulbs are being replaced with compact fluorescent bulbs and LEDs that use 70 to 80 per cent less power. According to the Energy Department, widespread use of LED bulbs could save output equivalent to that of 44 large power plants by 2027.

The move to mobile also is helping. Desktop computers with big CRT monitors are being replaced with laptops, tablet computers and smart phones, and these mobile devices are specifically designed to sip power to prolong battery life.

It costs $1.36 to power an iPad for a year, compared with $28.21 for a desktop computer, according to the Electric Power Research Institute.

On the other hand

We are using more devices, and that is offsetting what would otherwise be a more dramatic reduction in power consumption.

DVRs spin at all hours of the day, often under more than one television in a home. Game consoles are getting more sophisticated to process better graphics and connect with other players, and therefore use more power.

More homes have central air conditioners instead of window units. They are more efficient, but people use them more often.

Still, Jennifer Amman, the buildings program director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, says she is encouraged.

"It's great to see this movement, to see the shift in the national numbers," she says. "I expect we'll see greater improvement over time. There is so much more that can be done."

The Energy Department predicts average residential electricity use per customer will fall again in 2014, by 1 per cent.
 

J.L. A (281)
Monday December 30, 2013, 8:17 pm
News worth celebrating
 

David C (25)
Monday December 30, 2013, 11:57 pm
and TOTAL electricity consumption+waste? For that is what really matters.

"Home use" is very roughly 1/3 of electricity, another 1/3 for shops and businesses and 1/3 for industry. (data for Germany; for US a not un-considerable part goes to the military, i'd guess)

Focusing on only "home use" == the usual ever-more-popular (and dangerous) strategy of Lifestyleism. A strategy for staying in denial, keeping people dulled, and prolonging gthe death-throes of the unsustainable.




 

Anne F (17)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 12:24 am
interesting statistic - let's keep talking about energy conservation
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 12:43 am
This is def great news---i just hope it's not due to poverty. Thx Michael
 

Robert B (55)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 7:04 am
AND yet the rates keep going up.
 

Justin Vale (13)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 7:34 am
kudos to robert b. and thanks michael.
 

. (0)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 7:52 am
That's great news, Michael. Thanks for sharing.
 

Jonathan Harper (0)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 10:07 am
Noted
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 1:01 pm
Thanks--what about turning off appliances, lights etc. when they are not in use?
 

Marianne R (62)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 1:27 pm
I've done a lot to my house the past 10 years to conserve energy. My re\ward? Higher utility bills....
 

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 1:42 pm
Thank you for sharing this....it is a start in the right direction but more still needs to be done.
 

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 2:33 pm
Thanks for sharing. It sounds very promising.
 

Roger G (148)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 3:11 pm
twitted, emailed and noted, thanks
 

Patsy Olive (0)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 8:21 pm
Noted Tweeted. and I am with you Marianne R. I spent a fortune just to see my higher light bill go out the
roof.
 

Tom C Sullivan (98)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 8:30 pm
Also just learning to cut things back helps
 

Colleen L (3)
Tuesday December 31, 2013, 11:19 pm
Great news. I hope we can follow suit by working toward cutting back the use of gasoline and water, etc. Thanks Michael
 

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 1, 2014, 3:57 am
When can other major cities follow?
 

Robert O (12)
Thursday January 2, 2014, 8:54 am
Thanks Michael.
 

Kathleen R (138)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 1:47 pm
noted & read
 
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