Home energy consumption is just one of those things that folks don’t think about that much on a daily basis. In fact, according to Accenture, the average person spends 6 minutes a year thinking about their home energy use! That comes to about 30 seconds a month (probably when you’re paying your electricity bill). In between paying our bills, energy consumption is very similar to oxygen – we really only care about it when we don’t have it.
This is unfortunate considering the tremendous impact that energy consumption has on our lives and on our wallets. According to the New York Times, 99% of the devices and appliances in the average American home require electricity (this includes that iPhone that needs recharging). And it turns out that each year we spend about as much on electricity and gas in our homes as we do for gasoline in our cars.
So why is it that we’re aware of every $0.01 change in gasoline prices, but hardly ever think about our electricity/gas costs at home?
Well one big reason is due simply to the fact that we don’t understand our home energy costs. And because we don’t understand our costs, it’s hard to know what we should be paying every month for electricity.
When we go to the pump, we understand what it means to pay $3.50/gallon; we know what we’re getting for our money, and we can generally predict what we’ll pay next month and the month after that. Furthermore, we can’t help but know prices at the pump because we see them on giant gas station signs every few miles.
Not so much with electricity. What is a kWh? Is what I’m paying higher or lower than what I should be paying? What can I do to reduce my costs? And if you want to know your energy rates, good luck. They’re buried in some obscure location on your not-so-user-friendly utility bill.
The tool below is the first step to understanding your energy costs. By first understanding what your energy costs are, you can begin to understand how you can control your energy costs and keep more dollars in your pocket.
This tool provides a high-level baseline for what you can expect your annual energy costs to be based on your location, the type of home in which you live, and the size of your home. Furthermore, it allows you to compare your expected energy costs to state and national averages so you can begin to have some context for your energy costs. All numbers are based on public data provided by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
If you are moving, especially if to another state, this tool can help you predict how your energy costs will change and understand the impact of getting that HUGE house vs. a more modest condo. Even if you aren’t moving, this tool, by providing a baseline for your expected costs, shows you your potential for savings throughout the year. What remains is to take action to reduce these costs. Look out for future tools that will help you understand what additional actions can be taken, and their impact on your annual energy costs.