Tran family dad changing the thermostat

Home Energy Use on the Rise

Did you know?

  • Climate-related temperature shifts are expected to cause a net increase in residential electricity use.
  • Heating and cooling account for roughly 48% of average annual US household energy use.

Monthly and annual global temperatures have increased since the 1900s. With annual temperatures projected to continue increasing into the future, energy demand for cooling buildings will increase in the summer and energy demand for heating buildings will decrease in the winter.

Degree days is a term used to relate daily temperatures to the demand for electricity to heat or cool buildings. As shown in the figure below, from EPA’s Climate Action in the US – Benefits of Global Action report, models project an increase in cooling demand to outpace the decrease in heating demand under a scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced over time (reference scenario). As a result, the increased electricity demands for cooling will exceed electricity savings from lower energy demands for heating. Under a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions are reduced (mitigation scenario), models project a lesser rise in temperature and lower electricity demand across all US regions as compared to the reference scenario below. 

Other factors that affect energy demand for heating and cooling include population change, energy prices, consumer behavior, and conservation programs. These impacts, along with degree days, differ among regions of the United States, but the demands for electricity for cooling are expected to increase in each region as a result of increases in average temperatures.

What you can do 

Learn More

Explore the Home Heroes infographic created by NEEF and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to discover how home buyers and sellers can get the better homes and better value they want through home energy performance. The infographic is designed around three main themes – opportunity is calling, buyers need your help, and sellers need your help – to encourage and help real estate professionals promote the benefits of improved energy performance among buyers and sellers.

Click on the infographic for an interactive version or to download a copy.