The ability to heat and cool is one important accomplishment of modern technology. Our ovens, freezers, and homes can be kept at any temperature we choose, a luxury that wasn’t possible 100 years ago. But keeping our homes comfortable uses a lot of energy.
Lighting is also essential to a modern society. Lights have revolutionized the way we live, work, and play. Most homes still use the traditional incandescent bulbs invented by Thomas Edison. These bulbs convert only about 10% of the electricity they use into light; the other 90% is converted into heat. In 1879, the average bulb produced only 14 lumens (a measure of the quantity of light) per watt, compared to about 17 lumens per watt from modern incandescent bulbs. By adding halogen gases, the efficiency can be increased to 20 lumens per watt.
Compact fluorescent bulbs, or “CFLs,” have made inroads into home lighting systems in the last few years. These bulbs last much longer and use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, producing significant savings over the life of the bulb.
Appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers are also more energy efficient than they used to be. Congress passed the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act in 1990 that requires new appliances to meet strict energy efficiency standards. Learn what it means to be energy efficient.
Natural gas is the most widely consumed energy source in American homes, followed by electricity, heating oil, and propane. Natural gas and heating oil (fuel oil) are used mainly for home heating. Electricity may also be used for heating and cooling, plus it lights our homes and runs almost all of our appliances including refrigerators, toasters, and computers. Many homes in rural areas use propane for heating, while others use it to fuel their barbecue grills.
About 80% of residential energy use is consumed in single-family homes, while 15% is consumed in multi-family dwellings such as apartments, and 5% is consumed in mobile homes.
More than half of the energy used for heating in single-family homes (either attached or detached) is natural gas, about one-fourth is electricity, and one-tenth is fuel oil (heating oil). Most single-family homes have some type of air conditioning, and almost all single-family homes have a washing machine and a dryer.
Single-family main fuel used for heating and operating equipment:56% use natural gas 26% use electricity 7% use fuel oil 6% use liquefied petroleum gases (LPG) 1% use kerosene
Eighty-four percent of single-family homes have air conditioning (central system, wall/window units, or both).95% have a clothes washer 92% have a clothes dryer 74% have a personal computer
Multi-family dwellings such as apartments use about equal amounts of natural gas and electricity for heating. More than 80% of multi-family homes have air conditioning and more than one-third contain washers and dryers.47% use natural gas 41% use electricity 7% use fuel oil almost no one uses LPG or kerosene
Eighty-two percent of multi-family homes have air conditioning (a central system, wall/window units, or both).40% have a clothes washer 35% have a clothes dryer 55% have a personal computer
Mobile Homes main heating fuel and equipment:27% use natural gas 42% use electricity 3% use fuel oil 19% use LPG 4% use kerosene
Eighty-four percent of mobile homes have air conditioning (central system, wall/window units, or both).87% have a clothes washer 78% have a clothes dryer 49% have a personal computer
Gains in Home Energy Efficiency Offset by More Electronics and Appliances
Total residential energy consumption rose approximately 13% over the past quarter century. This was lower than both the rate of population growth (+24%) and new housing starts (+36%) due to energy efficiency improvements in heating and cooling equipment, water heaters, and major appliances. Efficiency gains were offset by increases in the number of homes with clothes washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Additionally, a growing number of U.S. households now have multiple televisions, computers, and refrigerators.
The percentage of homes with central air-conditioning has more than doubled since 1980, with nearly 60% of homes having a central system. All areas of the United States show a significant increase in air-conditioning equipment and use in recent years. Cooling now accounts for 8% of total residential energy consumption in the United States, double its 1980 share.
You can reduce your energy usage by installing an innovative and patented technology known as a “temperature controlled hot water recirculating valve”. It uses your existing water pipes and the thermal convection generated by your water heater to circulate the water back to your water heater for reheating (not requiring a pump or any electricity). These hot water recirculation systems have a temperature-controlled valve that allows the consumer to easily adjust the temperature to meet their particular needs. To save water and save energy here is no water waste as it reduces the energy required to heat your water while it provides faster hot water to your faucets and showers for better water conservation. Installation is a simple 15-minute DIY project (no pipe cutting, soldering or electrical connections).