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April 11, 2011

U.S. households are incorporating energy–efficient features

The 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS) shows that U.S. households have more energy-efficient features. Homes built in the past three decades are more likely to have double-pane glass instead of single-pane glass windows. Additionally, survey results reflect increased adoption of Energy Star appliances and advanced lighting in efforts to lower energy intensity.

Over 57% of U.S. households utilize energy-efficient double- or triple-pane glass windows, which have better thermal properties than single-pane glass windows, and new homes are increasingly being constructed using double- or triple-paned glass windows. Nearly 80% of homes built in the 2000s were constructed using such windows.

Households have taken other steps to make their homes more energy efficient. Over 40 million households (36%) have used caulking or weather-stripping to seal cracks and air leakages around their house, while a smaller number (23%) have added insulation to their home.

The 2009 RECS also asked households about the use of energy-efficient Energy Star appliances. One of the most common Energy Star appliances found in homes is refrigerators (39% of households), followed by clothes washers (36%) and dishwashers (24%). Residential lighting is another area of increased efficiency: about 60% of households use at least some energy-efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) lights.