Opportunities for efficiency are pervasive. We've pulled together some interesting tidbits to help you communicate about energy efficiency. While these are from the most reliable sources we know, be sure to check the source before using.
  • Compared to their 1970s counterparts, the US Department of Energy says that today's refrigerators save the nation about $20 billion per year in energy costs, or $150 per year for the average American family.
  • According to the National Academy of Engineering, if all consumers in 2011 selected energy efficient color televisions rather than standard ones, they would save a total of 70 TWh of electricity per year, a 90 percent reduction in operating cost.
  • The CEE 2015 Annual Industry Report showed that US and Canadian energy efficiency programs saved nearly 27,800 GWh of electricity and nearly 460 million therms of gas in 2014. This resulted in 21.4 million fewer metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere.
  • The impact of energy efficiency can outlast the program itself: the Sacramento Municipal Utility District found that 75 percent of the savings from its behavioral effort lasted for over a year after the program ended.
  • According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, an average household could save over 180 MWh of electricity and over 200,000 gallons of water by replacing major appliances with more energy efficient ones every 15 years  between 1995 and 2040.
  • ENERGY STAR® says that water heating consumes about 90% of the energy it takes to operate a clothes washer. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut energy use in half. Using the cold cycle reduces energy use even more. Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, washing in cold water will generally do a good job of cleaning. 
  • According to the US Energy Information Agency, in thirty years, average household energy consumption has declined by approximately 21 percent from 114 million Btu per household per year in 1980 to 89.6 million Btu per household per year in 2009.
  • At present, the National Academy of Science says Americans use about half as much energy per dollar of gross domestic product (GDP)—the total market value of all the goods and services produced in a country during one year—as they did in 1970. The annual increase in electrical consumption in the United States has decreased from an average of 4.2 percent per year in the 1970s to 1 percent per year currently, partly a result of ongoing improvements in efficiency.
  • Commercial buildings represent just under one-fifth of US energy consumption, according to the US Department of Energy, with office space, retail space, and educational facilities representing about half of commercial sector energy consumption.
measuring energy
How big is a kWh?
It's the amount of electricity to keep a 25 watt compact fluorescent light bulb on for five and a half months. On average, it takes about a pound of coal to generate one kWh, about one cup of oil, or 10 cubic feet of natural gas. How Stuff Works, US DOE Energy Information Agency
How big is a Btu?
Fifty British thermal units are needed to cool one square foot of space in your home, or 5,000 Btu to cool a 10 by 10 foot room. Consumer Energy Center, California Energy Commission
Water efficiency
Water is often considered in energy efficiency because the pumps, motors, aerators, and other equipment used to purify, move, and treat water are so energy intensive. EPA states that considering water and energy efficiency together has multiple benefits.