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Ten Surprising Facts About the Energy We Use

The days of cheap oil energy have come to an end. What once was simple and cheap (i.e. driving to vacation) has become difficult and expensive (i.e. …driving to vacation). The skyrocketing cost (and limited supply) of energy has forced us to re-examine the energy we use in our daily lives. Below is a quick list of 10 facts about our energy usage that may surprise you.

The following has been adapted for the web from Energy: Use Less—Save More by Jon Clift [1] and Amanda Cuthbert [2].

  1. Americans consume 26% of the world’s energy.

  2. 18% of total emissions comes from operating our homes.

  3. Heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical home.

  4. We spend 10% of our electricity bills on lighting.

  5. Our demand for energy grows by about 3% per year.

  6. At any one time in most households an average of 8 appliances are left on stand-by. (Stand-by is an appliance’s “off” setting, but the appliance continues to use about 85% of the energy it uses while on—often so that it can listen for signals from remote controls.)

  7. Energy-efficient washing machines use about 1/3 less electricity than older machines.

  8. Washing clothes at 140 degrees (F) uses almost twice the energy as a 104 degree (F) wash.

  9. 90% of the energy used by traditional bulbs is wasted in producing heat.

  10. About 25% of all the energy we use to heat our homes escapes through single-glazed windows.

A few of these facts may seem depressing, but the truth is that each one represents a great opportunity for reducing our energy usage, the greenhouse gases we create, and the cost of our electric bill. See Energy: Use Less—Save More by Jon Clift [1] and Amanda Cuthbert [2] for great energy saving strategies.