Twenty percent of Americans have HVAC systems that cost the homeowner an extra $882 annually on average to keep their homes cool — almost four times as much as the most efficient similar homes. This is according to a new study conducted by smart home energy company Sense who make smart home energy monitors.
But here’s the surprising finding: The 20% of homes with the highest cooling account for 45% of all cooling consumption nationwide.
Updating these inefficient homes could save 8% of US residential electricity usage overall and eliminate nearly 52 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
During the first US presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden promised to upgrade 4 million buildings and weatherize 2 million homes over four years, creating 1 million new jobs and re-energizing the economy (see Biden’s plan here). Sense’s analysis of home energy data supports the potential impact of the plan on the US’s energy picture and climate change goals, and it goes a step further by identifying the homes that will have the biggest impact overall.
It’s already being done in other countries. As of this week, homeowners in England can apply for vouchers worth up to £10,000 to make their homes more energy-efficient through the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme. Improvements could include home insulation or installing low-carbon heating.
Updating and weatherizing the least efficient homes could save US consumers $15.3 billion annually while moving the US closer to climate change goals. Incentive programs that updated the 20% of homes with the highest cooling usage would eliminate 115 billion kWh of electricity usage annually. By comparison, in 2019, the US generated 107 billion kWh from solar and 300 billion kWh from wind.
Sense CEO Mike Phillips said:
Focusing on home upgrades and weatherization is a smart move because it can