It’s hard not to take steps toward making your home more energy efficient these days… especially since doing so means you save money.From weatherizing and using the energy saving settings on appliances like washers and dryers, to swapping out your old light bulbs for CFLs, there are plenty of adjustments you can make to save energy… But a new survey from the Energy Information Agency — a statistical and analytical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy — shows these measures are not doing enough to improve performance.Gains in efficiency for appliances have been offset by other factors:
- the number of U.S. households grew by 34.5 million from 1978 to 2009
- improved living standards resulted in more households buying and using major appliances
- the share of households that have central air conditioning nearly tripled — from 23 percent in 1978 to 61 percent in 2009
- the saturation, or percent of households with an appliance, of clothes washers increased from 74 percent to 82 percent
- the saturation of dishwashers increased from 35 percent to 59 percent
But the main reason these measures are not doing enough is simple: electronics.
While most home appliances have become more efficient over the past 30 years, the average U.S. household has many more electronics.According to the survey, 76 percent of U.S. homes had at least one computer in 2009 — eight percentage points higher than just four years prior. Thirty-five percent had multiple computers.The average household had 2.5 televisions and DVD players; 79 percent of homes had a DVD player.
Digital Video Recorders (DVR), which did not exist 15 years ago, are now widespread, with 43 percent reporting they had a DVR. Nearly one-third of all households also had at least four electronic devices like cell phones, plugged in and charging at home. So as our collective love affair with new electronics continues to grow, it’s important to keep in mind that just because something uses less energy, that doesn’t necessarily mean we should own more… Until Next Time,Angela Guss