U.S. Energy Statistics (updated)

Updated and amended January 2012

When it comes to how much energy lighting uses, a lot of numbers tend to be thrown around – often without references and context. This post is an attempt to give a referenced overview for those who wish to see the numbers in their proper perspective.

The most common mistake is to confuse lighting part of electricity use with lighting part of total energy consumption for a particular sector. Here are the numbers for lighting part of electricity and total energy consumption in various sectors, in quadrillion Btu (British thermal units).


World primary energy consumption 2009: 503.8 quadrillion Btu [1]

• Total U.S. energy consumption 2009: 95.61 [1] = 18.5% of world energy 
Delivered energy after electricity related losses of 26.78: 63.83 q Btu

U.S. end use energy consumption by sector 2009 [2]

1. Transportation sector: 26.95 = 28% (of delivered energy)
2. Industrial sector: 22.25 = 23% 
3. Commercial sector: 8.42 = 9%
4. Residential sector: (private homes): 11.22 = 12% 

U.S. electricity consumption: 12.24 = 12.7% of total U.S. energy


Transport sector energy consumption 2009: 26.95 [2]
Transport electricity consumption 2009: 0.02 [2]
Lighting part of transport electricity 2009: unknown


Industrial sector energy consumption 2009: 22.25 [2]
Industrial sector electricity consumption 2009: 3.0 [2]
Lighting part of industrial sector electricity 2006: estimated at c. 2% [3]


Commercial sector energy consumption 2009: 8.42 [2]
Commercial sector electricity consumption 2009: 4.53 [2]
Lighting (incl. street lighting) part of electricity 2008: 1.27 =25% [4]
= 15% of commercial energy consumption
= 2% of total U.S. delivered energy [4]


Residential sector energy consumption 2009: 11.22 qBtu [2]
Residential sector electricity consumption 2009: 4.7 qBtu [2]
Lighting part of household electricity 2009 = 0.71 qBtu = 15% [5]
= 6,3% of total residential energy consumption

Note: energy statistics is not an exact science and the more detailed information you seek, the more difficult it gets. Making estimates of national energy comsumption, and even energy consumption per sector, seems a fairly straightforward matter of collecting and compiling available data from energy importers, producers and distributors and making projections based on those numbers. When it comes to detailed splits of how this energy is used in each sector it gets a lot more complicated, time consuming and costly, as this requires surveying thousands of end users, in order to get a decent average. Survey Methods.


There are many ways of calculating percentages of distribution of different lamp in each sector: annual lamp and luminaire sales, as well as surveys of existing luminaire types, installed lamps and wattages, use per lamp and day, lumen-hours per year, lit floor space, energy consumption per lamp type etc. Finding recent, reliable and detailed info is difficult. I’ve found only one really thorough study made for the U.S. Department of Energy in 2002 [6]. (Solid State = LED) See the original document for more detailed tables, these two are just from the summary:

So, back in 2001, 14% of residential lamps was already fluorescent. And lamp distribution may look different now, as we have seen dramatic changes in lighting over the last decade due to the relentless CFL campaigns. According to Energy Star, CFLs accounted for nearly 28 percent of all residential light bulb sales in July 2011, from only 1 to 2 percent of residential lighting sales in 2000. [7]


1. EIA: International Energy Outlook 2011: World total primary energy consumption by region
2. EIA: Annual Energy Outlook 2010: Energy Consumption by Sector and Source (reference case)
3. EIA: How much electricity is used for lighting in the United States? “EIA’s most recent data available indicates that in 2006, 63 billion kWh were consumed for lighting in manufacturing facilities, which was equal to about 2% of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2006.”
4. U.S. DoE: Buildings Energy Data Book
5. U.S. Residential Electricity Consumption by End Use, 2009
6. U.S. DoE: National Lighting Inventory 2002
7. Earth Techling: “CFLs Transcend Blue States/Red States”

EU Energy Statistics

This is a very confusing subject so both journalists, politicians, as well as the general public, can easily be misled by numbers thrown around which confuse energy with electricity. You have to think in tiers or hierarchies, and be very careful not to confuse one level with another. Electricity is often only a smaller share of total energy use. In the domestic sector, most of the energy is used for heating and cooling.

1. National, federal or continental energy consumption.

2. Sector total energy use (e.g. transportation, industry, service/commercial, domestic/residential).

3. Sector by fuel type (e.g. natural gas, coal/coke, lignite, petroleum, renewable, electricity) in that country or federation.

4. Fuel type (e.g. electricity) split by end-use (e.g. space heating, space cooling, water heating, refrigeration, cooking, home electronics, lighting).

You often also have to combine statistics from different areas and separate tiers to get the complete and accurate picture. Here I’ve used EuroStat: Panorama of Energy [1] and the EuroStat statistics for the lighting part of home electricity cited in the European Commision’s Residential Lighting Consumption and Saving Potential in the Enlarged EU [2] to get the national energy consumption (level 1), residential (pritate households’) energy consumption (level 2), residential electricity consumpion (level 3) and lighting part of residential electricity consumption (level 4) for EU-27 2006 in 1 000 TOE (Tonne of Oil Equivalent):

EU energy 2006

1. EU final energy consumption 2006: 38 165 (1 000 TOE)
2. EU total household energy consumption: 8 932 = 23.4%
3. EU household electricity consumption: 1 954 = 21.9%
4. Lighting part of EU household electricity: 250 = 12.8%
Home lighting part of household total energy: 2.8%
Home lighting part of EU final energy: 0.6%

Of this 0.6%, the preparatory study by the EU Commission’s consultant firm VITO showed that the share of household incandescent lamps has decreased from 85% in 1995 to 54% 2007. [3]

Based on surveys of 500 consumers in 11 countries, the EU-27 average share per household 2007 was estimated at:

• 54% of the lamps incandescent (and decreaseing)
• 18% of the lamps low-voltage halogen (and increasing)
• 5% of the lamps mains-voltage halogen (and increaseing)
• 8% of the lamps linear flourescent
• 15% of the lamps CFL with integrated ballasts

Note that incandescent lamps were expected by the preparatory study to keep decreasing dramatically, even in the “business-as-usual” scenario (= without a ban)! [3]

54% of 12.8% = 6.9% of domestic electricity.
54% of 2.8% = 1.5% of total domestic energy use.
54%  of 0.6% of = 0.3% of EU total energy consumption.

Of this little fraction, the European Commission hopes to save 65-75% by forcing people to switch to CFLs.

But CFLs save at best 20% with heat replacement effect included = 0.06% of EU total energy consumption. And even less if we include poor power factor.

Not exactly close to the EU 2020 goal, is it?

And not all of the remaining incandescent lamps can be replaced by CFLs. The preparatory study explains why:

“…some customers have a few light points left where they prefer to keep the GLS due to barriers for CFLi as explained in chapter 3 (e.g. requirements to color rendering, sparkling effect etc.) or because of the lamp has little usage such as in cellars, staircases or storage rooms and where full lighting is also needed immediately.” [3]


1. EuroStat: Panorama of Energy (2006)

2. Residential Lighting Consumption and Saving Potential in the Enlarged EU

3. Lot 19: Domestic Lighting Part 1, Chapter 2