The energy released from the burning of natural resources (to provide heat and power) is a precious commodity. People are all dependent on this energy. Think about the last time there was a power outage at your home and how difficult it was to function. Remember digging through drawers for a flashlight or some candles, unable to use the microwave, or praying that the batteries on your laptop would last a few more minutes? Our entire lives are wrapped around this addiction to energy.
Despite all we now know about the importance of reducing energy use, the demand for energy keeps going up. The oil Americans now consume in six weeks would have lasted an entire year in 1950. But it’s not just oil. American demand for electricity will rise by 45 percent in the next ten years.
In order to keep lights on, rooms comfortable, and hot showers flowing, buildings are the biggest users of energy. The majority of the world’s energy goes into keeping our buildings running and comfortable. In reality, most of this energy could be saved with building improvements. Smarter planning, better insulation, and solar panels are all examples of how to reduce the energy use in buildings.
So what do we do with all this energy? More than two-thirds of the energy in a building is used for lighting, heating, and cooling:
* Heating: 34 percent
* Appliances and lighting: 34 percent
* Water heating: 13 percent
* Electric air conditioner: 11 percent
* Refrigerator: 8 percent
Each of these areas is a potential place to conserve energy. You can see a simple overview of where to save energy in your home in the image below and find more details in our Energy Efficiency Guide.