Skip to content

Residential Sector: Homes & Appliances

American homes use almost 25% of the energy consumed in the United States. About 80% of that energy is used in single-family homes, 15% in multi-family homes (such as apartments and condos), and 5% in mobile homes. Although residential energy use has steadily increased over the past 25 years, it has increased at a slower rate than the rate of population increase. However, many efficiency gains are being offset by increases in the number of electronics and appliances in the average home. There are still many large opportunities for improvement, especially in areas such as whole-home performance and systems.

Homes

The “building envelope” refers to the external walls, windows, roof, and floor of a building. This barrier between indoors and outdoors is important with regards to ventilation and insulation of a conditioned space. A “tighter...
Building owners and potential purchasers and renters rarely have access to the information they need to understand the energy efficiency of a given building and opportunities for improvement. This information can motivate owners to upgrade their...
Building performance efforts seek to improve the energy performance of existing buildings by taking a comprehensive approach to improving their energy efficiency, comfort and productivity. Building performance initiatives address building systems...
HVAC systems are comprised of the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems in a residential or commercial building. These mechanical systems provide thermal comfort and air quality in indoor spaces.  Types of HVAC systems...
Multi-family homes include partially-detached homes, townhouses, and apartment buildings and range from small units of less than four units to high-rises or apartment complexes with hundreds of units. Residents may own or rent the unit they occupy...
America' existing housing stock offers tremendous opportunities for energy savings. However, capturing this savings potential within the established structure of the home improvement market has proven to be quite a challenge. Homeowners...
Windows include typical single- double- or triple-paned residential fenestration, as well as commercial building glazing. Windows are generally less efficient than walls, and are also a common site for air infiltration. Energy-efficient windows...
Building modeling and simulation is a growing discipline. Modeling software can be used to estimate a building’s projected energy and water use, as well as building performance, during the design phase of construction. Modeling can also be...
The goal of good energy efficient building design is to minimize energy consumption while providing healthy indoor environments. Poor indoor air quality can result from inadequate or inappropriate ventilation. In commercial office spaces, Sick...
New construction has many more opportunities for the integration of energy efficiency measures than existing buildings. Often retrofits of measures like wall insulation are cost prohibitive for existing buildings but inexpensive for new...
The value of energy efficiency in properly implemented construction standards is universally recognized as the easiest and most cost-effective way to help consumers save energy and money, make housing more affordable, and reduce air pollution. All...
An energy audit is a thorough accounting of the energy use of a building.  Also known as energy assessments, audits are a powerful way to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of a home, business, or industrial plant. Because buildings...
(For information on emergency power and associated utility rates for distributed energy, see Standby Rates.) Standby, or “phantom” power is the power used by electronics and appliances when they’re not performing their main...
Pulling emerging technologies from the R&D stage into the market is a critical step for reducing energy consumption while maintaining economic growth well into the future.  In light of this need, ACEEE has been tracking new energy-...

Appliances

Residential air conditioning accounts for around 5% of the electricity consumed in the U.S. Residential air conditioning technologies include window air conditioners, central air conditioners, heat pumps, passive cooling, and alternatives to air...
Since 1980, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has administered the EnergyGuide labeling program to assist consumers in making informed decisions when purchasing certain home appliances and other energy-using equipment. This label gives...
Minimum efficiency standards for residential appliances and lighting have been one of the most successful policies used by states and the federal government to save energy. Appliance efficiency standards prohibit the production and import or sale...
Boilers are used for heating residential and commercial spaces via hot water or, less commonly, steam. Residential boiler efficiency is rated in AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). The higher the AFUE, the more efficient the boiler. ...
Consumer electronics include electronics used for entertainment, office equipment, or telecom. As the number of these electronics per household increased in recent years, so too has the energy use in this sector. Standby power (power that the...
Opportunities for energy savings in food preparation come from more efficient appliances and equipment as well as behavioral changes. Appliance selection, cooking and food prep practices, higher-efficiency equipment and new cooking technologies...
Dishwashers in the U.S. use 24,000 GWh of energy per year. There are both technology and behavioral opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of dishwashers. Technology options include dishwashers with cold-water inputs, more efficient dish...
Furnaces provide space heating through the delivery of forced warm air via ducts.  They are the most common form of space heating in U.S. homes and are used to a lesser extent in commercial buildings. Residential furnace efficiency is rated...
Two main types of heat pumps are used in residential and commercial applications: air-source heat pumps (by far the most common) and ground-source (or geothermal) heat pumps. A heat pump works like an air conditioner in the cooling cycle; in the...
Clothes washers and dryers are the two highest energy-using appliances in the average home, after refrigerators. There are both technology and behavioral opportunities to increase the energy efficiency of clothes washers and dryers. Technology...
In the residential sector, lighting is used indoors and out to provide ambient light and meet task-specific lighting needs, for decorative purposes, and to provide security. Commercial lighting applications are more varied and include indoor...
Standardized, accepted, test procedures for characterizing the energy performance of building components and equipment are necessary for developing building codes and efficiency standards. These rating methods also underlie policies that promote...
Nearly every home in America has a refrigerator—over 20% own more than one—and about a third have a stand alone freezer.  All told, about 126 million refrigerators and 38 million freezers operate 24 hours a day, consuming a...
(For information on emergency power and associated utility rates for distributed energy, see Standby Rates.) Standby, or “phantom” power is the power used by electronics and appliances when they’re not performing their main...
Water heating includes residential and commercial hot water systems. Water heating consumes 12% of residential energy and 7% of commercial energy. Energy efficient technologies include condensing gas water heaters, gas and electric tankless...
Pulling emerging technologies from the R&D stage into the market is a critical step for reducing energy consumption while maintaining economic growth well into the future.  In light of this need, ACEEE has been tracking new energy-...

Related Items