June 9, 2012

WHEN THE BAKER INSTALLS HIS NEW WINDOW:

American homes are getting bigger, but energy use is shrinking (Brad Plumer, 06/08/2012, Washington Post)

American houses are getting more massive. They're becoming more plentiful. We're cramming their outlets with an ever-expanding array of power-hungry electronics -- from large flatscreen TVs to multiple smartphones to the occasional iPad.

And yet, surprisingly, the average American home now uses less energy than ever before. That's according to a new analysis from the Energy Information Administration, which offers up the graph below. As a result, total energy use for all U.S. homes has flatlined since 1980, even as the overall number of houses keeps growing:
 
Why is that? One reason is that homes are becoming considerably more efficient -- the EIA notes that newer houses tend to feature better insulation and things like double-paned windows that help lower the utility bills. (Remember, heating and cooling takes up the biggest chunk of a home's energy use.) Many appliances, like refrigerators and washing machines, have also become more efficient, thanks to government regulations signed by President Reagan in 1987.

Your bigger home, with the payments smaller than your Dad made, is also an indicator of deflation.

Posted by at June 9, 2012 9:38 AM
  

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