U.S. Energy Efficiency

What 5 million data points say about energy efficiency potential

Energy efficiency is the country's cheapest power source and the secret to unlocking its potential isn't a new fracking fluid or a new nuclear reactor design. The key is data. A new era of data transparency and quantification is turning energy efficiency from a guesstimate into a reliable and deployable resource that our country can count on. This page is a small peek into that brave new world that brings together data on housing structures, heating and cooling, appliances, and energy habits from more than 120,000 U.S. households. The data illuminates clear opportunities for saving energy and money.

National Highlights

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North and South Dakotans report using more conventional light bulbs than any other state, at 1.5 times the national average. Vermonters, by contrast, report using efficient bulbs at the highest rate, 1.8 times the national average.

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States with the most stand-alone freezers in addition to a primary fridge and freezer? Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, all in excess of 2x the national average.

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Heating Set Point

West Virginians like it warmer in the winter. They set their thermostats higher than most other states. Rhode Islanders keep their homes the coolest in winter.

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Cooling Set Point

Alabamans set their thermostats cooler than any other state in the summer. Others who keep their AC chillier than average include residents of Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, New York, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

State by State


States are color-coded by energy efficiency potential measured in MMBTU savings per household. Every state has work to do, but the darker states show the the biggest potential for savings per household. Select a state to learn more.

The data was collected from over 120,000 self-reported residential online energy audits in the U.S. between 2010 and 2013.

Based on the data collected, participants were presented with a report detailing savings opportunities and benchmarked against similar homes in their area.

Energy Efficiency Opportunities by Measure


  • 57% Report their homes are somewhat or very drafty
  • Sealing up leaks in a home's exterior is often one of the most cost-effective ways to improve efficiency by significantly reducing the loss of conditioned air.


  • 21% Report using conventional light bulbs
  • 35% use efficient bulbs, and 44% report using a mix of conventional and efficient.

Attic Insulation

  • 49% Report some or no attic insulation
  • Attic insulation is usually the quickest and easiest insulation upgrade because of an attic's accessibility.


  • 38% Report having a gas cooking range
  • While 55% report having a natural gas furnace to heat their home. A gas stove can cost less than half as much to operate as an electric one.*
    * depending on the cost of electricity in your region


  • 48% Report having a second refrigerator or freezer
  • Only 9% of those report having an efficient appliance.


  • 30% Report setting their thermostat to 70° or higher
  • U.S. Department of Energy estimates 1% savings for each degree lowered for a period of 8 hours.


  • 35% Report setting their thermostat to 76° or lower

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