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Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS)

Survey Background and Technical Information

Survey Background

The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) is the only nationwide source of energy related characteristics, consumption, and expenditures for U.S. homes.

The RECS is a multi-phase study that begins with a household survey, which asks respondents about physical characteristics of the home (such as the roofing material and the number of windows), and energy use behaviors (such as how many times per week the microwave is used). EIA then contacts the energy suppliers for the housing unit to obtain the fuel consumption and expenditures data. For example, if a home uses natural gas, EIA asks the natural gas supplier both how many cubic feet of gas the home used, as well as how much that gas cost. Data are combined within complex statistical models to dissagregate consumption into estimates for end uses, including space heating, air conditioning, water heating, and refrigeration.

RECS began in 1978 as an annual survey. The 2020 RECS is the fifteenth iteration of the survey.

Technical Information

The following links provide detailed information on RECS methodology, data quality (including the kinds of errors associated with sample surveys), estimation of standard errors, and end-use consumption estimation. Methodology for specific survey years is linked below and can be found on the Methodology tab of the Data page for that survey year. Technical information for RECS surveys prior to 1993 is available upon request.

Specific questions on this product may be directed to:

Consumption and efficiency data