While we have some understanding of where energy comes from, a greater awareness of how we use energy (energy use patterns) can lead to better ways of managing energy use. We know that our homes use electricity, but we don’t know how the electricity required for the lights in the kitchen compares to the amount used by the television.
We use energy for lighting rooms, heating and cooling our homes, heating water, and refrigerating food, as well as numerous other activities. Such energy uses can be categorized by devices, products, and systems that use energy for the same or for similar purposes. These categories are called energy end-use patterns.
A typical house in Wisconsin uses several types of energy to power its various end uses. About two-thirds of Wisconsin homes use natural gas for space heating, and the rest use fuel oil, liquid propane gas, electricity, or wood. More than half of Wisconsin homes use natural gas for water heating, and most of the rest use electricity. Most homes also use electricity for cooling, refrigeration, and lighting.
To view graphs illustrating various energy use statistics of Wisconsin and the United States, including resource energy consumption and end-use consumption, click here.
There are several things we can do to determine our energy use or consumption patterns.
One way to better understand our personal energy use is to conduct a General Energy End Use Survey. Conducting an end-use survey not only increases our awareness of how we use energy in our lives but also helps us decide how to use energy more efficiently.
Calculating how much energy is used by the electrical appliances and equipment in our homes and schools makes us aware of which ones use large amounts of energy and which ones do not. This can be done through an Appliance Survey and lead us to adopt strategies for using appliances and equipment more efficiently and replace older equipment when more efficient models are available. Although improving the efficiency of all electrical appliances and equipment saves energy, lowers utility bills, and leads us to adopt strategies for using appliances and equipment more efficiently and replace older equipment when more efficient models are available, focusing efficiency improvements on those that are large energy users should be the first priority. (Taken from the KEEP Energy Education Activity Guide “At Watt Rate?“)
It is beneficial to learn more about watts, volts, amps, and other terms associated with energy to better conduct end-use and appliance surveys.