The average amount of electricity consumed by U.S. households has declined to levels last seen more than a decade ago, The Associated Press reported.
For a third year in a row, energy consumption has decreased, dropping to 10,819 kilowatt-hours per household last year, the lowest level since 2001, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
Home design and construction are becoming progressively greener, as building regulations and codes move toward promoting higher levels of energy efficiency. These regulations dictate that homes are better insulated and airtight, which can optimize the performance of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, and reduce energy waste when operating these systems.
“It’s great to see this movement, to see the shift in the national numbers,” said Jennifer Amman, the buildings program director at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, according to the AP. “I expect we’ll see greater improvement over time. There is so much more that can be done.”
Effects of Lower Energy Consumption Levels
Energy-efficient designs also include incorporating renewable energy resources to save energy, such as solar power generation. This is already in practice with some water heaters and other residential appliances.
In addition to improving the energy design of homes, a greater number of household appliances and heating and cooling systems are becoming more energy-efficient in general, reducing electricity consumption nationwide.
Consumers are more likely to purchase certified energy-efficient products, such as those approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program.
Appliances branded with the Energy Star logo include common household products such as refrigerators and dishwashers. Consumers can also purchase Energy Star-approved HVAC equipment, including air conditioners and water heaters.
What Lower Energy Consumption Means for Utilities
As consumers use more energy-efficient appliances such as air conditioners and heaters, utilities may see less demand during peak demand periods on hot and cold days.