*Energy usage in some homes may vary widely from these averages.
For example, milder regions such as the southern U.S. and Pacific coast of the USA need far less energy for space conditioning than New York City or Chicago. On the other hand, air conditioning energy use can be quite high in hot-arid regions (Southwest) and hot-humid zones (Southeast) In milder climates such as San Diego, lighting energy may easily consume up to 40% of total energy. Certain
appliances such as a waterbed, hot tub, or pre-1990 refrigerator use significant amounts of electricity. However, recent trends in home entertainment equipment can make a large difference in household energy use. For instance a 50" LCD television (average on-time= 6 hours a day) may draw 300 Watts less than a similarly sized plasma system. In most residences no single appliance dominates, and any conservation efforts must be directed to numerous areas in order to achieve substantial energy savings. However, Ground and Water Source Heat Pump systems are the more energy efficient, environmentally clean, and cost-effective space conditioning systems available (Environmental Protection Agency), and can achieve reductions in energy consumptions of up to 69%.
Stand By Power?
Standby power used by consumer electronics and appliances while they are turned off accounts for an estimated 5 to 10% of household electricity consumption, adding an estimated $3 billion to annual energy costs in the USA.
"In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off."
The efficiency of furnaces and air conditioners has increased steadily since the energy crises of the 1970s.
The 1987 National Appliance Energy Conservation Act authorized the Department of Energy to set minimum efficiency standards for space conditioning equipment and other appliances each year, based on what is "technologically feasible and economically justified". Beyond these minimum standards, the Environmental Protection Agency awards the Energy Star designation to appliances that exceed industry efficiency averages by an EPA-specified percentage. Despite technological improvements, many American lifestyle changes have put higher demands on heating and cooling resources. The average size of homes built in the United States has increased significantly, from 1,500 sq ft (140 m) in 1970 to 2,300 sq ft (210 m) in 2005. The single-person household has become more common, as has central air conditioning: 23% of households had central air conditioning in 1978, that figure rose to 55% by 2001. As furnace efficiency gets higher, there is limited room for improvement--efficiencies above 85% are now common. However, improving the building envelope through better or more insulation, advanced windows, etc., can allow larger improvements. The passive house approach produces superinsulated buildings that approach zero net energy consumption. Improving the building envelope can also be cheaper than replacing a furnace or air conditioner. Even lower cost improvements include weatherization, which is frequently subsidized by utilities or state/federal tax credits, as are programmable thermostats. Consumers have also been urged to adopt a wider indoor temperature range (e.g. 65 F (18 C) in the winter, 80 F (27 C) in the summer). One underutilized, but potentially very powerful means to reduce household energy consumption is to provide real-time feedback to homeowners so they can effectively alter their energy using behavior. Recently, low cost energy feedback displays, such as The Energy Detective or wattson, have become available. A study of a similar device deployed in 500 Ontario homes by Hydro One showed an average 6.5% drop in total electricity use when compared with a similarly sized control group. ---TAKEN FROM POWERSET!