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”