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Could the U.S. Cut Household Electricity Use by Two-Thirds?

| Written by John Farrell | 5 Comments | Updated on May 11, 2012 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

A chart by ILSR comparing annual household electricity consumption in the U.S. and Germany, showing the vast difference.

Your mind-blowing chart of the day, courtesy of Arne Jungjohann at the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Source for U.S. use; source for German use; used U.S. average household size of 2.6.

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About John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. More

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  • Peter Lynch

    John – any more details of WHY there is this HUGE difference ??

  • John Farrell

    A couple of things not controlled for in this chart: average home size (I’d guess Americans have many more square feet per person) and climate (Germany has a much lower need for air conditioning than much of the southern U.S.).

  • Tim Gulden

    I have done everything possible over a 2 year span to reduce electric consumption for my family of 5 in our 4,000 sq ft (two levels) heated home and use 8760 kWh per year. Maybe if I was a family of 2 living in a 750 sq ft house I could attain that German number. We need many more details so we can compare kWh to kWh.

    • John Farrell

      You’re at a twofold disadvantage. Your home is large for the U.S. (avg. size around 2400 s.f.) and that’s about double the size of typical German dwelling.

  • Tim Gulden

    OK…I see you have listed two things that account for some of the differences…can you elaborate on the rest that make up the kWh differences? We can’t change what we don’t know…please share your information for all of us to learn from. Thanks.