Where does all my energy go?

Where does all my energy go?

Dear Matt,
Where does all my energy go? I feel like my bill just keeps getting higher, but I know it’s my usage and not the actual price. What areas can I start cutting back to save some money?

Your question is timely! I get asked this question multiple times a month, so I wanted to go ahead and write about where your energy goes. Keep in mind that when I say energy, I am referring to any energy used in the home, not just electricity. Take, for example, home heating. Although some homes have electric heat, many in our area use propane, a few burn wood and where available, some use natural gas. With home solar becoming common, you may also be getting energy from your own panels, as well.

I have included a graph this month that shows home total energy consumption. Now, keep in mind that this data is average, and Kansas uses more on heating/cooling than other states. Your average could be different than this chart. It all depends on your lifestyle and the number of people you have in your home. This graph is to illustrate how your energy breaks out within an average home, and it may not be exact to your situation.

Heating a home takes the most energy. If you add in cooling, we’re up to about 32% of energy usage. The chart also shows that electronics consume a relatively high amount of energy, and that number continues to grow. This is due to most things we buy today consume at least a small amount of energy even when off, and we have more things to plug in.

Think about the last thing you purchased. Did it have a power cord? Chances are, yes, it did. We just have more things plugged in than we did 25 years ago. However, we are seeing a reduction in overall residential energy usage. The electronics portion of our energy usage is increasing.

Here’s a challenge for you. Take a look at your bill, and then compare it to five years ago. The price of electricity was the same as it is today, but where is your usage? Compare what you used then, to what you use now. I think you might be surprised at how much usage has increased in just five years.

The chart shows that water heating, lighting and appliances are all relatively equal. If you utilize LED lightbulbs, you can bring the 12% lighting portion down.

So, when you ask where your energy is going, think about what you do daily. What do you have plugged in? What is your thermostat set on? What kind of lightbulbs do you use? Stay tuned. Next month, I’ll go into more detail about the small things you can do at home to help reduce usage and save you money!