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Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS)

Residential Available formats

PDF Primary Energy Source-to-Sector Chart

(archived versions)

PDF Updated Buildings Sector Appliance and Equipment Costs and Efficiency

Released: November 9, 2016

EIA works with technology experts to project the cost and efficiency of future HVAC, lighting, and other major end-use equipment rather than developing residential and commercial technology projections in-house. These reports have always been available by request. By providing the reports online, EIA is increasing transparency for some of the most important assumptions used for our AEO projections of buildings energy demand. (archived versions)

PDF Determinants of Household Use of Selected Energy Star Appliances

The main objective of this paper is to test a series of hypotheses regarding the influences of household characteristics (such as education, age, sex, race, income, and size of household), building characteristics (such as age, ownership, and type), and electricity prices on the use of ENERGY STAR appliances. (archived versions)

PDF Assessment of Interval Data and Their Potential Application to Residential Electricity End-Use Modeling, An

Released: February 10, 2015

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is investigating the potential benefits of incorporating interval electricity data into its residential energy end use models. This includes interval smart meter and submeter data from utility assets and systems. It is expected that these data will play a significant role in informing residential energy efficiency policies in the future. Therefore, a long-term strategy for improving the RECS end-use models will not be complete without an investigation of the current state of affairs of submeter data, including their potential for use in the context of residential building energy modeling. (archived versions)

PDF Drivers of U.S. Household Energy Consumption, 1980-2009

Released: February 3, 2015

In 2012, the residential sector accounted for 21% of total primary energy consumption and about 20% of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States (computed from EIA 2013). Because of the impacts of residential sector energy use on the environment and the economy, this study was undertaken to help provide a better understanding of the factors affecting energy consumption in this sector. The analysis is based on the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) residential energy consumption surveys (RECS) 1980-2009. (archived versions)

PDF Issues in International Energy Consumption Analysis: Electricity Usage in India’s Housing Sector

Released: November 7, 2014

India offers a unique set of features for studying electricity use in the context of a developing country. First, it has a rapidly developing economy with high yearly growth rates in gross domestic product (GDP). Second, it has the second -largest population in the world and is likely to have the largest population in the future. Third, its electric system is maturing—with known difficulties (outages, shortages, issues with reliability and quality) that are characteristic of a developing country. This article focuses on electricity use in the residential sector of India and discusses key trends and provides an overview of available usage estimates from various sources. Indian households are an interesting environment where many of India’s unique features interact. The recent economic gains correlate with rising incomes and possible changes in living standards, which could affect electricity or other energy use within households. Additionally, the maturing electric system and large population in India both offer opportunities to study a range of interactions between electrification and electricity usage in a developing country. (archived versions)

PDF Price Elasticities for Energy Use in Buildings of the United States

Energy demand tends to be responsive to changes in energy prices, a concept in economics known as price elasticity. Generally, an increase in a fuel price causes users to use less of that fuel or switch to a different fuel. The extent to which each of these changes takes place is of high importance to stakeholders in the energy sector and especially in energy planning. The purpose of this analysis is to determine fuel-price elasticities in stationary structures, particularly in the residential and commercial sectors. (archived versions)

PDF Analysis and Representation of Miscellaneous Electric Loads in NEMS

Released: January 6, 2014

Miscellaneous Electric Loads (MELs) comprise a growing portion of delivered energy consumption in residential and commercial buildings. Recently, the growth of MELs has offset some of the efficiency gains made through technology improvements and standards in major end uses such as space conditioning, lighting, and water heating. Miscellaneous end uses, including televisions, personal computers, security systems, data center servers, and many other devices, have continued to penetrate into building-related market segments. Part of this proliferation of devices and equipment can be attributed to increased service demand for entertainment, computing, and convenience appliances. (archived versions)

PDF Modeling Distributed Generation in the Buildings Sectors

This report focuses on how the Energy Information Administrationmodels residential and commercial sector distributed generation, including combined heat and power, for the Annual Energy Outlook. (archived versions)

State Fact Sheets on Household Energy Use

Released: August 13, 2013

The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) gathers information through personal interviews with a nationwide sample of homes and energy suppliers. The 2009 survey was the largest RECS to date and the larger sample size allowed for the release of data for 16 individual states, in addition to national, regional, and division-level estimates. (archived versions)

PDF Distributed Generation System Characteristics and Costs in the Buildings Sector

Released: August 7, 2013

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) works with technology experts to project the cost and performance of future residential and commercial sector photovoltaic (PV) and small wind installations rather than developing technology projections in-house. These reports have always been available by request. By providing the reports online, EIA is increasing transparency for the assumptions used for our Annual Energy Outlook buildings sector distributed generation projections. (archived versions)

PDF Assessment of consumption and expenditure data collected from energy suppliers against bill data obtained from interviewed households: Case study with 2009 RECS

Released: February 15, 2013

By comparing the different data sources (survey respondents provide information about their household characteristics and energy use; interviewers used portable devices to scan the respondents’ utility bills), we hope to learn more about any limitations in the data that we collect, which we can then attempt to address. As such, this limited empirical study is an example of the research that EIA conducts to evaluate and subsequently improve on the quality of data that EIA collects. (archived versions)

PDF Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS ) 2009 Technical Documentation - Summary

Released: January 15, 2013

RECS is a periodic survey sponsored by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that provides detailed information about energy usage in U.S. homes. RECS is a multi-year effort consisting of a Household Survey phase, data collection from household energy suppliers, and detailed consumption and expenditures estimation. The Household Survey collects data on energy-related characteristics and usage patterns of a nationally representative sample of housing units. For renters that do not directly pay for their energy usage, a supplementary Rental Agent Survey is conducted. The Energy Supplier Surveys (ESS) collect data on how much electricity, natural gas, propane/LPG, fuel oil, and kerosene were consumed in the sampled housing unit during the reference year. It also collects data on actual dollar amounts spent on these energy sources. (archived versions)

PDF Implementing a mixed-mode design for collecting administrative records: striking a balance between quality and burden

Released: September 5, 2012

RECS relies on actual records from energy suppliers to produce robust survey estimates of household energy consumption and expenditures. During the RECS Energy Supplier Survey (ESS), energy billing records are collected from the companies that supply electricity, natural gas, fuel oil/kerosene, and propane (LPG) to the interviewed households. As Federal agencies expand the use of administrative records to enhance, replace, or evaluate survey data, EIA has explored more flexible, reliable and efficient techniques to collect energy billing records. The ESS has historically been a mail-administered survey, but EIA introduced web data collection with the 2009 RECS ESS. In that survey, energy suppliers self-selected their reporting mode among several options: standardized paper form, on-line fillable form or spreadsheet, or failing all else, a nonstandard format of their choosing. In this paper, EIA describes where reporting mode appears to influence the data quality. We detail the reporting modes, the embedded and post-hoc quality control and consistency checks that were performed, the extent of detectable errors, and the methods used for correcting data errors. We explore by mode the levels of unit and item nonresponse, number of errors, and corrections made to the data. In summary, we find notable differences in data quality between modes and analyze where the benefits of offering these new modes outweigh the "costs". (archived versions)

Where Does RECS Square Footage Data Come From?

Released: July 11, 2012

The size of a home is a fixed characteristic strongly associated with the amount of energy consumed within it, particularly for space heating, air conditioning, lighting, and other appliances. As a part of the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), trained interviewers measure the square footage of each housing unit. RECS square footage data allow comparison of homes with varying characteristics. In-person measurements are vital because many alternate data sources, including property tax records, real estate listings, and, respondent estimates use varying definitions and under-estimate square footage as defined for the purposes of evaluating residential energy consumption. (archived versions)

RECS Data Show Decreased Energy Consumption per Household

Released: June 6, 2012

Total United States energy consumption in homes has remained relatively stable for many years as increased energy efficiency has offset the increase in the number and average size of housing units, according to the newly released data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS). The average household consumed 90 million British thermal units (Btu) in 2009 based on RECS. This continues the downward trend in average residential energy consumption of the last 30 years. Despite increases in the number and the average size of homes plus increased use of electronics, improvements in efficiency for space heating, air conditioning, and major appliances have all led to decreased consumption per household. Newer homes also tend to feature better insulation and other characteristics, such as double-pane windows, that improve the building envelope. (archived versions)

Impact of Increasing Home Size on Energy Demand, The

Released: April 19, 2012

Homes built since 1990 are on average 27% larger than homes built in earlier decades, a significant trend because most energy end-uses are correlated with the size of the home. As square footage increases, the burden on heating and cooling equipment rises, lighting requirements increase, and the likelihood that the household uses more than one refrigerator increases. Square footage typically stays fixed over the life of a home and it is a characteristic that is expensive, even impractical to alter to reduce energy consumption. (archived versions)

An Assessment of EIA's Building Consumption Data

Released: March 15, 2012

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) routinely uses feedback from customers and outside experts to help improve its programs and products. As part of an assessment of its consumption surveys, EIA reached out to the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on National Statistics (CNSTAT) asking them to assess the Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) and the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) and recommend improvements in data quality, geographic coverage, timeliness of data releases, and relevance of data for users. (archived versions)

Air Conditioning in Nearly 100 Million U.S. Homes

Released: August 19, 2011

Except in the temperate climate regions along the West Coast, air conditioners (AC) are now standard equipment in most U.S. homes. As recently as 1993, only 68% of all occupied housing units had AC. The latest results from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) show that 87% of U.S. households are now equipped with AC. This growth occurred among all housing types and in every Census region. Wider use has coincided with much improved energy efficiency standards for AC equipment, a population shift to hotter and more humid regions, and a housing boom during which average housing sizes increased. (archived versions)

Share of Energy Used by Appliances and Consumer Electronics Increases in U.S. Homes

Over the past three decades, the share of residential electricity used by appliances and electronics in U.S. homes has nearly doubled from 17% to 3% , growing from 1.77 quadrillion Btu (quads) to 3.25 quads. This rise has occurred while federal energy efficiency standards were enacted on every major appliance, overall household energy consumption actually decreased from 10.58 quads to 10.55 quads, and energy use per household fell 31%. (archived versions)

How Does EIA Estimate Energy Consumption and End Uses in U.S. Homes?

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) administers the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) to a nationally representative sample of housing units. Specially trained interviewers collect energy characteristics on the housing unit, usage patterns, and household demographics. This information is combined with data from energy suppliers to these homes to estimate energy costs and usage for heating, cooling, appliances and other end uses  information critical to meeting future energy demand and improving efficiency and building design. (archived versions)

EIA Household Energy Use Data Now Includes Detail on 16 States

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) is releasing new benchmark estimates for home energy use for the year 2009 that include detailed data for 16 states, 12 more than in past EIA residential energy surveys. (archived versions)

What's New In Our Home Energy Use?

The 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) collected home energy characteristics data from over 12,000 U.S. households. This report highlights findings from the survey, with details presented in the Household Energy Characteristics tables. (archived versions)

PDF Trends in U.S. Residential Natural Gas Consumption

This report presents an analysis of residential natural gas consumption trends in the United States through 2009 and analyzes consumption trends for the United States as a whole (1990 through 2009) and for each Census division (1998 through 2009). (archived versions)

PDF Householder's Perceptions of Insulation Adequacy and Drafts in the Home in 2001

Released: August 1, 2004

In order to improve the estimation of end-use heating consumption, the Energy Information Administration's (EIA), 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), for the first time, asked respondents to judge how drafty they perceived their homes to be as a measure of insulation quality. (archived versions)

Effect of Income on Appliances in U.S. Households, The

Released: January 1, 2004

Entails how people live, the factors that cause the most differences in home lifestyle, including energy use in geographic location, socioeconomics and household income. (archived versions)