Most of what we do all day at WattzOn is sift through numbers and try to understand how people are consuming power in their lifestyles. Now that we have been up and running for a while, we’ve learned quite a bit about our users’ energy consumption habits. We never give away individual people’s values without the user’s explicit permission, but WattzOn has been learning from its users — to that end, we’ve put together a quick look at the “average” American Wattizen’s home energy consumption.
This data is more of a conversation starter — we know we have work in front of us. We’re throwing this out there to get people talking. More specifically, to each other and to us! We’re continuously going through our data sets, using that data to learn about our users, and, most importantly, changing our users’ experiences and relationships with their energy usage. We already know of tons of ways to improve what we’re doing, but we’re always excited to hear more — leave us a comment on this blog post, or just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love e-mail.
The US Census recognizes four regions in the United States: Northeast, Midwest, South, and West. We clustered our American users into those four groups, removed any outliers, and tabulated. This data does not describe any single user, by the nature of averaging its pretty generic and anonymous, and is meant only to be an illustration of energy usage at home:
|Region||# of people in home||Electricity (kWh/mo)||Natural gas (therms/mo)||Heating oil (gal/mo)||Propane (gal/mo)||Kerosene (gal/mo)||Wood (cord/yr)|
To get between those units up top, and watts, WattzOn uses the following conversion table:
|Electricity (1.00 kWh/month)||1.37 watts|
|Natural Gas (1.00 therm/month)||40.1 watts|
|Heating oil (1.00 gallon/month)||55.6 watts|
|Propane (1.00 gallon/month)||36.8 watts|
|Kerosene (1.00 gallon/month)||53.8 watts|
|Wood (1.00 cord/year)||736 watts|
You can also see this broken out in quite a bit of detail on the housing help page of the profile builder. Taking the above, and turning that all into watts per person:
|Watts per person||992||756||946||878|
The Northeast, on average, uses about 2540 watts per household or 992 watts per person. Being in the Northeast ourselves, we weren’t surprised to see heating oil dominate since we know it is widely used to heat homes in the winter (although, not in the far north where the cold can turn the oil to sludge). What surprised us, however, is that our region would turn up to have the greatest energy use per person. Any theories as to why?
Midwestern users report that they use about 2100 watts per household, or 756 watts per person. The midwest gives us the most curiosity — how are they so efficient? All you midwesterners, get more of your friends using WattzOn and paint us a clearer picture! Or, share whatever secrets you’re harboring.
Those in the South, according to our users, use 2250 watts per household, or 946 watts per person. The South is the most interesting because the full energy mix shows up down there — no other place in the United States, again, according to WattzOn users, broadly use all the different energy options for the home.
Finally, the western US users clock in at 2170 watts per household, or 878 watts per person. The “West” however, we feel, is a pretty poor characterization as this clumps together states like Oregon in with Hawaii and Alaska. Our Alaskan users are reporting the highest wood usage of any of other WattzOn demographic, and Hawaiians (or more probably Southern Californians) presumably spend more electrical power to run air conditioners than their northern neighbors.
Help us understand this data! Either leave us a comment, drop us a line, or just get more people to use WattzOn to contribute to the conversation. Does the Northeast really use more power than the rest? How is the Midwest so efficient? Anybody have interesting stories out there for power generation that is not being captured properly?