The Energy Drain: How Much Do Empty Rooms Waste Your Customers' Energy Savings?

Posted by AM Conservation Group on October 19, 2015

Life as we know it — where and how we live — is not possible without electricity. Many people take energy access for granted, but that number is shrinking as awareness of the importance of energy savings increases.

Energy Habits in the Home

The most common energy saving habits —like turning off lights, removing fully charged devices from their chargers, or not falling asleep with the television on — are some of the easiest-to-develop good habits. It just so happens that they’re fixes to the least wasteful energy usages in a home.

Energy usage in the average American home breaks down as follows:


Energy use in residences amounts to an average of roughly 22% of all of the energy consumed in the US annually.

Energy Waste

Energy use is at an all-time high in the US — in the past 14 years, average spending on household utilities has increased by between 70% and 119%. As energy use grows, however, so does energy waste.

Peaking in the 1970s at 50.4%, energy usage has been declining. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which measures US energy use and waste annually, has published worrisome results: In 2012 energy use by the US economy was at only 39% efficiency, its lowest rate ever. Enough energy is wasted in the US in one year to power the entirety of the UK for seven years.

And it isn’t just the economy — power plants, industry, and so on — that wastes energy. As of 2009, an estimated 5.5% of energy used by residences and businesses in the US is wasted. In an average US residence, the top 10 ways energy is wasted are:

  • Sleeping with the television on
  • Inefficient light bulbs
  • Lights on in empty rooms
  • Fans on in empty rooms
  • “Energy vampire” appliances in standby mode
  • Devices plugged into charges after they are full
  • Standing in front of open refrigerators and freezers
  • Old filters in HVAC systems
  • Baking during hot summer afternoons
  • Unused programmable thermostats

Reducing Energy Waste

Armed with the right information, your customers can make great advances in reducing energy waste.

To counter light-related energy waste, turn off lights or invest in occupancy sensors for your rooms. For maximum energy savings, replace inefficient incandescent bulbs with energy efficient alternatives such as CFL and LED bulbs.

To eliminate the waste of “energy vampires,” consider installing electricity usage monitors or switching to advanced power strips. More simple tips include using your television’s timer function, organizing your refrigerator so you know where things are, turning off fans (like lights) in empty rooms, and unplugging fully charged devices.

Energy savings in HVAC systems start at a structural level — identify air leaks in ducts, windows, doors, and so on. Weatherization kits are excellent tools for plugging those gaps. Further, add insulation in vulnerable areas such as basements, crawl spaces, and attics. These steps help a home retain its temperature and reduce the strain on heaters and AC units.

Air filters are important as well. Dirty air filters force HVAC systems to work harder, drawing more energy. Installing air filter whistles helps homeowners remember to replace them and, for the largest HVAC energy savings, your customers should use their programmable thermostats. The EPA estimates that programmable thermostat use can save a household as much as 9% of their energy.

To Learn More

Energy waste and energy savings are complex issues, but you and your customers are not powerless. Everybody, from the largest industries down to single family residences, can take steps to significantly increase energy savings in the US.

To learn more about what you and your customers can do, download AM Conservation Group’s free whitepaper on Illume Energy Savings Kits today.

Download the Whitepaper