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About Energy Production & Usage

Energy Consumption in the U.S., 2008

Percentage Powered by Renewable Energy

3% of all Transportation needs

8% of all Industrial needs

5% of all Residential & Commercial needs

7% of all Electricity Generation

Electricity Generation

In 2008, electricity in the U.S. was generated by three major sources: Fossil Fuels (70.7%); Nuclear Power (19.5%); and Renewable Sources (9.8%). Renewable sources include: hydropower, biomass (organic material made from plants and animals such as manure), geothermal, wind, and solar energy. Nonrenewable sources include: natural gas, coal, oil, petroleum, and nuclear energy.
     - In the U.S., thermoelectric power generation accounts for the largest use of fresh water at about 41% of the total. Continued investment in alternative energy technologies, such as wind & solar has two primary benefits: 1) they will not generate greenhouse gases; 2) they do not require water for the production of electricity.

Natural gas emits about half as much carbon dioxide (~400 g CO2/kWh) as coal (~800 g CO2/kWh) per unit of energy produced. However, in the U.S., coal-fired power plants run all the time to produce the base power levels, while natural gas-fired power plants
only run when additional electricity is needed, since coal is cheaper than natural gas (see where your state ranks in the generation of carbon dioxide (the major component of human generated green house gases) from the production of electricity...see chart)

Currently, there are 104 commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S., which do not produce any greenhouse gases, although there is the issue of disposal/long term storage of the radioactive, spent fuel rods.

Electricity Generation by Source, 2008Energy Produced by Renewable Sources

Energy Use at Home

A typical U.S. household consumes about 11,000 kWh of electricity per year or about 917 kWh per month. One thousand watt-hours equal 1 kilowatt-hour, or 1 kWh. The average residential rate is 9.4 cents per kWh, costing one household an average of $1,034 annually.

Energy Use at Home

Heating & Cooling account for about 43% of average household's utility bill

About 60% of U.S. homes are heated by natural gas

Only about 40% of U.S. homes use natural gas to make hot water, with about 60% of hot water produced by electricity

Among home appliances, refrigerators & freezers use the most electricity

Household lighting, which consumes about 11% of a household's energy, is the easiest and most cost effective areas to save energy

Save Energy

Heating & Cooling - 43% of home energy costs

Seal cracks and holes around windows and electrical outlets, in walls and around exterior doorways, which can help reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 10%

programmable thermostat

Install a programmable thermostat, which can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 30%

System Zoning can save up to 20-30% on heating/cooling costs by controlling individual temperatures for different rooms of your household. That way, you can save energy in rooms that are not frequently used

Insulate attics, ceilings and walls, which can reduce your heating and cooling costs by up to 20%

Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses for energy. Research shows that summer daytime air temperatures can be 3° to 6° cooler in tree-shaded neighborhoods than in treeless areas. Deciduous trees planted on the south and west sides will help keep your house cool in the summer and allow sun to shine in the windows in the winter

Appliances - 17% of home energy costs

As refrigeration accounts for about half of all energy used by appliances in a home, if you have a second refrigerator or standalone freezer, unplugging will save you a significant amount of electricity and money
    - If you absolutely need to keep operating a second refrigerator or standalone freezer, then locating it in a cool area will help save you a little energy and money

If you have a refrigerator that was manufactured in the 1980's, by replacing it with an Energy Star qualified model can save you over $100 per year

If you have a standalone freezer that was manufactured in the 1980's, by replacing it with an Energy Star qualified model can save you over $70 per year

Use a indoor clothes drying rack

outdoor clothlines

Install an outdoor clothes line, which will not only reduce your energy consumption, but will also help your clothes smell more fresh, naturally

Hot Water - 12% of home energy costs

Lowering the temperature set point on your water heater to 120°F, can reduce the energy required to heat your water by up to 5%

Adding an insulating blanket to your water heater tank, can reduce the energy required to heat your water by up to 5%

Adding pipe insulation to your hot water pipes, can reduce the energy required to heat your water by up to 5%

A more expensive option, installing a tankless water heater, can reduce the energy required to heat your water by up to 30%

Solar water heaters can not only reduce the cost of energy required to heat your water by up to 80%, but also cut the amount of carbon dioxide produced due to the significantly reduced amount of utility produced energy required to heat your water

Lighting - 11% of home energy costs

CFL with photocell

Install the appropriate Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs) required by each of your light fixtures, thereby maximizing the useful life of the CFL, cutting electricity usage by up to 70% as well as reducing greenhouse gases

More tips to maximize the life of your CFL:
    * Avoid repeatedly turning on and off the CFL light (to less than 5 to 10 times per day on average) as CFL ballasts have a limited on-off lifecycle
    * Do not use regular CFLs in lamps with photocells or dimmer switches
    * Do not use regular CFLs in light fixtures with the ballast up ("upside down" position) or in enclosed fixtures. Specialty or reflector CFLs with ballasts designed to better dissipate heat build-up should be used

Electronics - 9% of home energy costs

SmartStrip Surge Protector

Turn off all “ghost” power by using "smart" surge protectors. Even when you turn the switch off of many electronic devices, they continue to draw a small amount of electricity, which is called phantom or ghost power. Phantom power can account for up to 10% of a household's electricity usage. This can save you up to $30/year

Other Areas like swimming pools - 8% of home energy costs

Use a solar cover for your pool when not in use

Cover hot tubs with an insulated cover when not in use

To Save Energy

Specialty CFLsNatural Clothes Drying RackSmart Surge Protectors & Electricity Use Meters

About Energy

Learn about the Department of Energy’s Energy Star program for electric appliances and devices, as well as government rebates on Energy Star appliances

DSIRE is a comprehensive source of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives, rebates and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency

Find rebates on heating and cooling equipment from state or local governments at

Calculate your Carbon Footprint at