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You’ve probably thought about it once or twice.  Exactly how much money is spent on residential electricity in the U.S. each year?  It may not seem like a large amount when you pay your bill every month, but with over three hundred million people living in our country, that amount certainly adds up fast.  Let’s take a closer look.

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) has estimated that in 2012, the average annual electricity consumption for a residential utility customer in the U.S was 10,837 kWh.  They have also stated that the residential sector paid an average price of 11.88 cents per kWh.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the same year there were 132,452,405 housing units (defined as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, a group of rooms, or a single room that is occupied as separate living quarters.)

Time for some quick math…

10,837 kWh multiplied by $0.1188 comes out to $1,287.4356.  If we round this number off, each house in the U.S. paid $1,287.44 for electricity in 2012, on average.  Multiply that by the number of housing units and we get a grand total of $170,524,524,293.20…for a single year!

Now let’s take it one step further.

When you calculate it out, the total amount of energy consumed in 2012 comes to 1,435,386.71 gigawatt hours (GWh).  Dividing that by 8,760 (total hours in one year) gives you 163.86 GW.

According to Dr. Emmett Brown himself, also known as “Doc,” exactly 1.21 gigawatts are required to take a ride in the DeLorean time machine.  So if you saved all the electricity consumed in the residential sector of the U.S. for one year, you would be able to travel in time 135 times!

Sarah can be found on LinkedIn and Google+.

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  • http://www.SidelSystems.com SidAbma

    How much natural gas energy was consumed in that year by commercial buildings and by industry and by the power plants?
    How much of that energy was wasted? Blown up chimneys across America as HOT exhaust into the atmosphere? 20% ~ 40% ~ 60% And at what temperatures?
    Could this make a difference in the battle against Climate Change?
    The President stated in his Climate Action Plan we had to:
    1) Reduce Global Warming
    2) Reduce CO2 Emissions
    3) Conserve Water

    Increasing natural gas energy efficiency will do all 3.
    Increasing America’s Energy Efficiency can do so much!!
    It’s a Decision, not by Washington, but by America!

  • Sarah Battaglia

    Sid, I completely agree. We could make a huge impact on the nation (and the world!) if we just cut back on our energy usage. If everyone made the switch to more energy efficient appliances, and light bulbs, and cars…this world would be much better off.

  • Juan

    Hi I am curious on how you calculated the energy in GWh. Thank you.

  • Sarah Battaglia

    Hi Juan – In order to go from kWh to GWh, I multiplied the total kWh per household (10,837 kWh) by the total number of households (132,452,405). That comes to 1,435,386,712,985 kWh. Convert that to GWh by dividing by 1,000,000 and the final answer is 1,435,386.71 GWh.

    I hope this helps!