Total United States 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 newly released data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The average household consumes 90 million British thermal units (Btu). This continues the downward trend in average residential energy consumption of the last 30 years, despite the fact that the average size home is 27% larger now than compared to homes built before 1990.
Even though the RECS show a downward trend in energy consumption, the cost to heat and cool a home continues to rise across the United States. This has necessitated the need for newer homes to feature better insulation and other energy saving components, but has also led to energy efficient improvements to older homes.
Current occupants in RECS sampled homes were asked about energy-efficient improvements they had made. Over 40 million householders (35 percent) used caulking or weather-stripping to seal cracks and air leakages around their house, and 26 million (23 percent) added insulation.
It is apparent that energy efficiency remains a priority for new and existing homes and this trend is expected to rise as the cost to heat and cool continues on an upward swing.