The amount of energy we use in our homes mainly depends on the climate where we live and the types and number of energy consuming devices we use. The pie chart on the right shows the major energy uses in homes in 2009, when most energy use was for space heating (42%), followed by electronics, lighting and other appliances (30%), water heating (18%), air conditioning (6%), and refrigeration (5%). (Watch a videoabout changes in home heating.)
The number and variety of ways we use energy in homes is changing rapidly. Energy use for air conditioning has doubled since 1980. U.S. households currently plug in more appliances and electronics at home than ever before. While refrigerators and cooking equipment have long been standard in homes, the ownership of appliances such as microwaves, dishwashers, and clothes washers and dryers has increased over the past 30 years.
It is increasingly common for homes to use multiple televisions and computers. Additionally, the home electronics market is constantly innovating, and new products such as DVRs, game systems, and rechargeable electronic devices are becoming ever more integral to our modern lifestyle. As a result of these changes, appliances and electronics (including refrigerators) now account for nearly one-third of all energy used in homes.
Types of Energy Used In Homes
Natural gas and electricity are the most-consumed energy sources in U.S. homes, followed by heating oil, and propane. Natural gas and heating oil (fuel oil) are used mainly for home/space heating. Space heating accounts for the largest share of the energy used in U.S. homes. Electricity, which is used for heating and cooling, also 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.
Regional Consumption Data Reflect Population Shifts and Climate
In the late 1990s, homes in the South Census Region surpassed the Midwest in consuming the most energy in the United States. This shift reflects the economic boom in the region, which stimulated U.S. migration to the South and the construction of more and larger homes. In 2009, homes in the South consumed 3.22 quadrillion Btu, about 3% of the country's total energy use and about 32% of energy used in homes.
Due to the longer heating seasons, the Northeast and Midwest regions still,
consume the most energy per household, at 108 and 112 Million Btu per
household in 2009, respectively.