If you are looking into solar for your home, you may be asking yourself: “How many watts does it take to power a house?” Well, it depends. It depends on your energy usage, which is very much related to the size of your home and your energy usage habits.
The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that “In 2015, the average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 10,812 kilowatt hours (kWh), an average of 901 kWh per month.” The same report showed that average kWh per month residential electricity usage for Utah was 744 kWh. In addition, the average cost of this electricity usage was estimated at $80.91 per month. It is easier to look at the annual average in a place like Utah (over the average kilowatt usage per day) because of the dramatic usage peaks in summer and winter. Strong spring and summer months can produce enough power to provide energy credits that can be redeemed in the winter months with less solar hours.
Additionally, the EIA estimates that air conditioning was the single largest use of electricity by the U.S. residential sector in 2015, followed by “refrigeration, lighting, water heating, heating, and televisions and related electronic equipment. The combined use by clothes washers and dryers, computers and related equipment, dishwashers, small appliances, and other electrical equipment was about 40% of total U.S. residential sector electricity use. Lighting was the single largest annual use of electricity in the U.S. commercial sector as used by all non-residential commercial buildings”.
You can learn more about Utah’s energy profile by checking out Southwest Energy Efficiency Project’s Utah Energy Fact Sheet. Becoming familiar with your own energy profile is the beginning of being more energy efficient. Carrying out your own energy audit on your home is a good place to start. Follow these 5 simple steps found at energy.gov to get started:
- Locate any air leak or drafts in the home. Seal these leaks with appropriate material.
- Check your ceiling and wall insulation. Be sure all areas of your home meet the recommended insulation standards given by the government.
- Inspect your heating and cooling units and perform regular maintenance.
- Examine the lighting in your house and consider replacing inefficient bulbs with a more efficient choice.
- Examine the appliances and electronics in your home and estimate their energy use. Consider strategies for reducing the energy use of your appliances and electronics.
Click here for a more detailed view of this DIY Energy Audit Checklist.