Reading the Energy Guide Label
Electricity, natural gas and propane continue to fuel the average American household.
The bar chart at the top of the page provides a visual presentation of household energy sources, using data from the Energy Information Administration's 2009 RECS Survey Data.
Electricity use stands as the 2009 household energy baseline, with all of the estimated 113 million U.S. households wired for electricity.
Natural gas serves as an additional energy source for 61.1% of all households, or 68.4 million households.
Transforming the average household into a more energy efficient household saves money, help the environment and most important, works on common sense principles.
Childhood lessons learned, such as turning off the lights upon entering and leaving a room, remain the most practical, least expensive and most energy efficient household tips.
Technology improvements in common household appliances provide additional energy efficiency choices for consumers whose interests extend beyond basic energy efficiency practices.
The EnergyGuide label, a large yellow label with black writing attached to most appliances, provides consumers information about the amount of energy and the electricity costs associated with using the appliance over the course of a year.
Any single appliance might also have an "Energy Star" label, meaning the United States Environmental Protection Agency certifies it as among the most efficient of all the energy efficient models.
Information provided on the label(s) allows consumers to determine short and long true costs associated with purchasing and operating an appliance.
For example, consumers shopping for an electric hot water heater might consider two different models.
Model 1 retails for $399 and costs $350/year to operate.
Model 2 retails for $650 costs $275/year to operate.
Over the course of the water heater's five year tank warranty, Model 1 costs $2,149 and Model 2 costs $2,025. From this perspective, the more expensive water heater in the store really costs less over the course of five years.
Often the more expensive retail appliances provide the best long term energy savings because they account for the costs of the employed energy efficiency technologies up front.
A combination of common sense living habits and a small amount of comparative appliance energy cost research, provides consumers with many options for reducing their overall home energy use.
Consumers interested in reducing a particular type of home energy use, natural gas energy use, for example, might want to limit their appliance comparisons to only those home appliances that use natural gas.
© 2000-2012. Patricia A. Michaels.