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How to Identify Primary Opportunities to Save Energy - Identifying Major Energy End-Uses

The process for the largest opportunities for energy efficiency improvements starts with identifying major energy end-uses in the unit or property. Nearly all homes use at least one source of energy for the various energy end uses in a home (e.g., heating and cooling). The major energy end-uses usually provide the greatest opportunities for energy reductions (or energy improvements). The major energy end-uses vary by climate region, as indicated in the chart below.

Relative Contribution of Energy End-Uses to Overall Energy Bills by Climate Region

Primary Energy End-Uses in Homes
Target Energy End-Uses by Climate Region
Hot Climates
Temperate Climates
Cold Climate
Space Heating
 
4
1
Space Cooling
2
3
 
Water Heating
3
2
3
Appliances
1
1
2
Lighting
4
5
4

Note: Number indicates relative importance of energy end-use within a climate region.
1-most important, 5-least important

Also important to consider is the growth in residential electricity consumption coming from the often-neglected small appliances in U.S. residences (the so-called "miscellaneous" end uses). The "miscellaneous" electricity end uses include many household appliances such as televisions and VCRs, waterbed heaters, aquariums, electric toothbrushes, home computers, microwave ovens, ceiling fans, and hot tubs. Electricity use for these "miscellaneous" types of equipment now accounts for about one-fifth of all electricity used in U.S. homes and should be considered when identifying major energy end-uses.

Once the major end-uses (space heating, lighting, etc) in the community are identified, the grantee/owner can now consult with an energy expert to assess the specific strategies to pursue reducing energy use. The most appropriate strategy will be based on the climate, total energy usage, and energy costs.