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July 2, 2012: EIA Data Shows Improved Energy Efficiency per Household Over Last Three Decades

WASHINGTON — Total United States energy consumption in homes has remained relatively stable for three decades as increased energy efficiency has offset the increase in the number and average size of housing units, according to the new data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The average household consumed 90 million Btu in 2009 based on RECS. This continues the downward trend in average residential energy consumption of the last 30 years. Despite increases in the number and the average size of homes plus increased use of electronics, improvements in efficiency for space heating, air conditioning, and major appliances have all led to decreased consumption per household. Newer homes also tend to feature better insulation and other characteristics, such as double-pane windows, that improve the building envelope.

The larger sample size for the 2009 RECS allowed for the release of data and comparisons to be made for 16 individual states. For example, the average energy expenditure for a New Jersey household was $3,065, more than twice as much as the $1,423 for the average California household. The difference in these expenditures is mainly due to the higher demand for heating in New Jersey. The larger sample size also enabled the release of data for more specific categories and provided a much greater level of precision for all estimates.

The EIA said future analyses will discuss regional differences in fuels used, energy demand, weather, and electricity prices.

For more details on the 2009 RECS data, visit www.eia.gov/consumption/residential/index.cfm.

Publication date: 7/2/2012

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