Energy Pathway - Fast Facts

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  • Only 10 percent of the energy used by an incandescent light bulb produces light; the rest is given off as heat.

  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) use only a quarter of the energy of incandescent bulbs and last 8-12 times longer.

  • In the United States, about 49 percent of our energy comes from coal, 20 percent from natural gas, and 19 percent from nuclear.

  • Fossil fuels account for 86 percent of annual energy use in the U.S.

  • The amount of energy released by burning a wood match is 1 BTU. The total energy used in the U.S. each year is 99.89 quadrillion BTU.

  • Thirty percent of the energy used in buildings is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.

  • Schools spend more money on energy than on computers and textbooks combined.

  • If every U.S. household replaced four incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, we'd save as much energy as removing seven million cars from the road.

  • In the next two decades, U.S. energy consumption will increase by almost 40 percent - an amount equal to today's energy use in California, Texas, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois combined, according to estimates from the Energy Information Administration.

  • Many idle electronics - TVs, VCRs, DVD and CD players, cordless phones, microwaves - use energy even when switched off to keep display clocks lit and memory chips and remote controls working. Nationally, these energy "vampires" use 5 percent of our domestic energy and cost consumers more than $3 billion annually.

  • Over an air conditioner's lifetime, only one-fourth of the total cost is for the purchase of the air conditioning unit. The greater cost - three-fourths - is for the energy to run the unit.

  • "Sleep" features that power down electronic devices when they are not in use can save households up to $70 annually.

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