Let's see. According to the EIA, residential use of electricity was 38% of total consumption in 2015. Lifestyle decisions have little impact on industrial and commercial use, at least not directly. Public transport was 0.2%, i.e. nothing. Where can you save some power, without going Amish? http://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/inde ... ricity_use
Let me risk getting ridiculed for being clueless and just pull a few numbers out of my behind, just to see where I end up:
- Space cooling 13%
"For example, AC accounts for 60-70% of the average home's summertime power bill in Austin." (not from EIA, but seems reasonable)
No idea how efficient your typical air conditioning is, how over-dimension-ed or how many are running when not needed. Let's just guess and cut the number by 3%. A little less comfort, some investment in higher efficiency.
- Refrigerators and freezers 11%
Last time I measured our fridge's and freezer's consumption, they amounted to very little. Unless yours is from the 1950s, not much potential there. But let's cut it by 2%, just because you just could spend a little more the next time you buy a new one. Or empty the freezer and switch it off when you're on holiday.
- Lighting 11%
I guess CFLs and LEDs are pretty much standard by now. But let's cut this by another 2%. Switch off the light in the kitchen, and put real candles on the Christmas tree.
- Water heating 9%
Just guessing that there isn't much potential. Let's cut it by 1%.
- Space heating 7%
Surprisingly much. I'm just guessing (did I mention that?): if you use electricity for heating, then you probably live in a rather hot climate and have the cheapest heating system in terms of installation costs. Or it's a weekend house. What can we save there? A lot with better insulation, but I guess that idea won't fly in southern Florida. Let's cut it by 2% anyway.
- TV et al 7%
Stop watching TV would be a good idea, unless it's Better Call Saul. Watching it on a 12" screen would also save massive amounts. Not popular, though. We just say you'll switch the plasma screen off during advertising breaks and cut 2%.
The rest is from another page (slightly different year, so the numbers don't add up exactly to 100%): http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=96&t=3
- Clothes dryers 4%
- Furnace fans and boiler circulation pumps 3%
- Computers and related equipment 2%
- Cooking 2%
- Dishwashers 2%
- Clothes washers 1%
Save a Wh here and there if you like. But in the grand scheme of things: no cuts. Or you could say I'm too lazy to research potential electricity savings in average US dishwashers.
So far I've invested thousands in this average US household to buy more efficient appliances, I've reduced my thermal comfort through less heating and cooling, I've installed LEDs everywhere. I haven't gone out of my way to save the Earth but I'm now much more conscious about my consumption. So far I've cut my electricity use by 12%. Fine.
- All other uses 28%
"Includes small electric devices, heating elements, exterior lights, outdoor grills, pool and spa heaters, backup electricity generators, and motors not listed above. Does not include electric vehicle charging."
The big catch-all. Impossible to guess, but I sell the electric outdoor grill and stop heating the pool. I charge the cell phone at the office and mow the lawn only every second month. Insert any number you like, but I'll cut it by another 8%.
(There's a lot of strange numbers everywhere. ~6% of US households are mobile homes?) http://www.eia.gov/analysis/studies/bui ... ouseholds/
And now the miracle happens: I convince *everybody else* to change their habits and consumption. It costs a lot of money but it adds up to 20% of household electricity use. Maybe my numbers are so wildly off that the whole exercise it futile anyway. But maybe I've at least hit the ballpark. I don't see how we could save 50% without a lot of magical thinking, but I'm sure we can squeeze more than 10% out of every household. Not much from the unemployed, lots from the well-to-do (who have the least incentive to save).
Result: since residential use is 38% of the total, we've just reduced US electricity consumption by a little over 7%. You can call that what you like. Insert your own numbers. But what I wanted to find out was whether changing our lifestyle could be a real game-changer. Get a little greener here and there and save the world. I don't think so. Where in the above list do you get enough points to really change the game? https://www.statista.com/statistics/201 ... ince-1975/
Another surprise for me: US consumption has almost doubled from 1980 to 2005 - and stayed essentially flat since then. A hundred reasons for the overall dynamic - better efficiency, population growth, more and more appliances (i.e. wealth), conservation... but I bet the big items are the overall economy. The lifestyle choices of a million people are insignificant compared to a thousand factories closing.