Given the current array of news topics, this will not seem like headline news but I just received my projected energy use for 2009 from my local power authority. My meter tells me that in the past 334 days my family has used 8,569 kWh of energy. This translates into about 9,365 kWh for one year. (Keep in mind that my home and water are heated with oil.) This breaks down to about 26 kWh per day and about 5.1 kWh per person per day, as their are 5 members in my family to drive usage (at least in some average sense). I am glad to report that my power authority projected next year's usage to be 9,487 kWh.
Now, even with 100 W bulbs being left on in every room in the house for 24 h, lighting would only then account for about 50% of my home's energy consumption. At the very worst, lights would come on at about 6:00 and then go off by about 22:00. In this case, lighting would account for about 30%. Both the former and the latter are upper bounds, with the latter approximating reality more closely.
While 30% is still a large fraction, lighting is fairly easy to deal. First there is the constant education of my children that lights need to be turned off when not needed. Then there is the replacement of all my incandescent bulbs (all of them at present) with much more energy efficient versions. In addition, I guess I could look into dimmer switches, timers, sensors, etc. This is on the top of my list when I move in early January.
What concerns me is the remaining 70% of my energy use. There are the always-on devices like tv's, computers, cable boxes, doorbells, etc. (Question: is there a 'real' reason that cable boxes must reboot when the power is turned off and then on?) And then there are the bigger ticket items like microwaves, refrigerators, stoves, dryers, and air conditioners. Here is where the ENERGY STAR comes into play. Even if I don't know the current energy consumption of these devices, when I purchase new ones ENERGY STAR lets me know how much my new device will consume in any given year. This should at least give me a fighting chance of eating into that 70%.
Well, my numbers are in and though they may not be helpful for others they can help my family set some reasonable benchmarks for reducing our energy consumption.