Miscellaneous Electricity Use in U.S. Homes

Publication Type

Conference Paper

Date Published




Historically, residential energy and carbon saving efforts have targeted conventional end uses such as water heating, lighting and refrigeration. The emergence of new household appliances has transformed energy use from a few large and easily identifiable end uses into a broad array of ''miscellaneous'' energy services. This group of so called miscellaneous appliances has been a major contributor to growth in electricity demand in the past two decades. We use industry shipment data, lifetimes, and wattage and usage estimates of over 90 individual products to construct a bottom-up end use model (1976-2010). The model is then used to analyze historical and forecasted growth trends, and to identify the largest individual products within the miscellaneous end use. We also use the end use model to identify and analyze policy priorities. Our forecast projects that over the period 1996 to 2010, miscellaneous consumption will increase 115 TWh, accounting for over 90 percent of future residential electricity growth. A large portion of this growth will be due to halogen torchiere lamps and consumer electronics, making these two components of miscellaneous electricity a particularly fertile area for efficiency programs. Approximately 20 percent (40 TWh) of residential miscellaneous electricity is ''leaking electricity'' or energy consumed by appliances when they are not performing their principal function. If the standby power of all appliances with a standby mode is reduced to one watt, the potential energy savings equal 21 TWh/yr, saving roughly $1-2 billion annually.


ACEEE 1998 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings

Year of Publication




Research Areas