Household Energy Use Going Down – yet no one Freezing in the Dark. How is that Possible?

June 8, 2012

I’ve reported before that, despite the increase in the number of gadgets, devices, and ostensibly labor-saving and life-enhancing improvements in technology in US households, energy use is leveling off or declining.  Note to science deniers: No visible increase in the number of donkey carts has been noted, and I’m not aware that more people are freezing in the dark.

Energy Information Agency:

Total U.S. energy consumption in homes has remained relatively stable for many years as increased energy efficiency has offset the increase in the number and average size of housing units, according to the latest results from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The average household consumed 90 million British thermal units (Btu) in 2009, based on RECS data. This continues the downward trend in average per-household energy consumption of the last 30 years. Improvements in efficiency for space heating, air conditioning, and major appliances have all led to decreased consumption per household, despite increases in the number of homes, the average size of homes, and the use of electronics. Newer homes also tend to feature better insulation and other characteristics, such as double-pane windows, that improve the building envelope.

RECS characteristics data, released in early 2011, showed an increasing number of televisions, computers, and other electronic devices that add to household plug loads as well as the greater use of energy-efficient appliances.

In America’s industrial manufacturing heartland, despite a booming auto sector, and creating jobs at a rate faster than almost any other state, Michigan electrical demand follows the larger nationwide trend.

Michigan Public Service Commission:

Electricity – Assuming normal summer temperatures, Michigan’s total electric sales are projected to decrease by 0.2 percent in 2012.This would mark the second year in a row of declining electricity demand. Although slight growth is projected in the residential and industrial sectors, these increases are expected to be offset by a decline in commercial usage. Given the anticipated demand and reinforced by the availability of estimatedreserve margins within the MISO and PJM footprints,there should be an adequate supply of electricity over the summer.


5 Responses to “Household Energy Use Going Down – yet no one Freezing in the Dark. How is that Possible?”

  1. MorinMoss Says:

    Well, it’s hard to SEE the donkey carts, if it’s dark.

    More seriously, the cooligans do a great job of overlooking California’s example.

    And New York, if you want to compare a state that has winters, is right up there with them.

    I’ve seen many a WUWTopian claim that diminshed energy consumption & CO2 output is the sign of a depressed economy and backwards or declining society.

    Have there been many sightings of troglodytes and barbarians in NY and CA?

  2. What about the debt then?


  3. MorinMoss Says:

    There’s a lot of debt in this world. Please be more specific, thanks.

  4. Dear Morin,

    I mean, the debt is borrowing from the future. More specifically it is exponential borrowing from the future. If the debt-fuelled consumption freezes, look at what is happening in Greece – not that people are freezing on the streets (just yet), but unemployment is shooting higher, so is social unrest… and Greece of course is just a canary in the coal mine… Spain is next etc…

    I am aware of climate change for many years, and I am writing about it – but I think energy is very important in our lives too – one can live with dramatically reduced energy consumption, but the “efficiency” has its limits…


  5. MorinMoss Says:

    You do get that money and debt are concepts, right? If it becomes untenable decades from now, we can choose to zero it out and start over.
    Think of it as planetary receivership.

    I can’t speak for Europe but North America has plenty of work – infrastructure, which makes our lives that much more livable and distances us from the hardscrabble existence of our ancestors is everywhere in shocking disrepair.

    But the insane ideologues oppose any large public works projects by the government, who they are evil, stupid and ineffectual
    I think they’re partly right, mostly because they are allowed to participate.

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