Even as we use more gadgets, American energy consumption is dropping



From blaring alarm clocks to late-night Netflix binges, the typical American makes use of 12 kilowatt-hours of energy round the home day by day. That’s lots of wattage—sufficient to drive a Nissan Leaf throughout Rhode Island—but it surely’s additionally our lowest personal-consumption fee because the begin of the century. Though we’re extra hooked on devices than ever, these home equipment are rising so environment friendly that per capita energy starvation dropped 7 p.c between 2010 and 2016, regardless of our rising doodad collections.

1. Clever HVAC

Indoor local weather management is the most important power suck, guzzling nearly half a house’s energy. Federal requirements, set between 1992 and 2015, spurred improvements like programmable ­thermostats and environment friendly AC items.

2. Telephones for every thing

Smartphones draw a mere 10-ish watt-hours of electrical energy per cost. Swapping them in can offset power-hungry desktops and televisions, which might guzzle 10 occasions as a lot juice per hour.

three. A necessity for warmth

A chilly winter in 2010 contributed to an all-time excessive in energy demand in Southern states, the place heating is essentially electrical. Of us used to 60-degree climate tried to remain heat as temps fell into the 20s.

four. Low-energy lighting

Beginning in 2012, the Vitality Independence and Safety Act required that bulbs minimize power consumption by at the very least 25 p.c. CFLs and LEDs slash utilization by as much as 80 p.c for every of the 40 bulbs in a typical dwelling.

5. Nukin’ it

Practically 30 p.c of all meals cooked in 2016 concerned a microwave, which, in some circumstances, can save lots of energy: Re-heating leftovers within the equipment makes use of 80 p.c much less power than in an oven.


This text was initially printed within the January/February 2018 Power problem of Standard Science.

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