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Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS)

RECS (Residential Energy Consumption Survey) Available formats

Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS)

EIA administers the Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) to a nationally representative sample of housing units. Traditionally, specially trained interviewers collect energy characteristics on the housing unit, usage patterns, and household demographics. Data include energy costs and usage for heating, cooling, appliances and other end uses.

PDF 2015 RECS Square Footage Methodology

Released: October 31, 2017

The square footage, or size, of a home is an important characteristic in understanding its energy use. The amounts of energy used for major end uses such as space heating and air conditioning are strongly related to the size of the home. The Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), conducted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), collects information about the size of the responding housing units as part of the data collection protocol. The methods used to collect data on housing unit size produce square footage estimates that are unique to RECS because they are designed to capture the energy-consuming space within a home. This document discusses how the 2015 RECS square footage estimates were produced.

One in three U.S. households faced challenges in paying energy bills in 2015

Released: October 31, 2017

Nearly one-third of U.S. households (31%) reported facing a challenge in paying energy bills or sustaining adequate heating and cooling in their home in 2015. According to the most recent results from EIA’s Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS), about one in five households reported reducing or forgoing basic necessities like food and medicine to pay an energy bill and 14% reported receiving a disconnection notice for energy service. Households may have also used less energy than they would prefer to: 11% of households surveyed reported keeping their home at an unhealthy or unsafe temperature.

Residential End Uses: Historical Efficiency Data and Incremental Installed Costs for Efficiency Upgrades

Released: June 21, 2017

The residential sector comprises equipment consuming various fuels and providing different end-use services. When replacing equipment, consumers may choose to purchase equipment that meets minimum federal equipment efficiency standards, or they may opt for higher-efficiency equipment, such as equipment that meets or exceeds ENERGY STAR® specifications. Consumers may also choose to purchase or retrofit different types of equipment, which may require additional costs (e.g., for ducts, exhaust vents, natural gas lines, or electrical connections) to install. The stock mix of equipment types, efficiency levels, and fuels consumed directly affects total residential sector energy consumption.

Housing Characteristics: 2015 RECS Survey Data

Released: February 27, 2017

The housing characteristics data tables from the 2015 RECS include: fuels used and end uses; structural and geographic characteristics; space heating; lighting; appliances; electronics; air conditioning; water heating; and household demographics. EIA’s 2015 RECS Household Survey captured more than 200 energy-related items from more than 5,600 households. The 2015 RECS is the 14th iteration of the program, which has been conducted periodically since 1978.

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.

Determinants of Household Use of Selected Energy Star Appliances

Released: May 25, 2016

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

EIA Household Energy Use Data Now Includes Detail on 16 States

Released: March 28, 2011

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.

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

Released: March 28, 2011

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.

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

Released: March 28, 2011

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%.

What's New In Our Home Energy Use?

Released: March 28, 2011

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.

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.

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.

Cooking Trends in the United States : Are We Really Becoming a Fast Food Country?

Released: November 25, 2002

This report will refer to cooking patterns data collected in the 1993 and 2001 Residential Energy Consumption Surveys.

Winter Energy Savings from Lower Thermostat Settings

Released: December 12, 2000

This discussion provides details on the effect of lowering thermostat settings during the winter heating months of 1997.

Comparison of Measures by Consumption and Supply Surveys, A

Released: June 15, 1988

This report was prepared in response to a request from the Office of Policy Integration in the U.S. Department of Energy for an analysis of how Energy Information Administration data from its consumption surveys compares with data from its supply surveys.