If you’re afraid of the dark, these frightening energy waste statistics might scare you into flipping the switch off anyway.

Americans are wasteful. We know it and there have bee some successful campaigns over the years to make us do something about it. If you feel guilty when you throw something in the trash that could be recycled or realize you forgot to turn a light off when you left the house, you might already have been scared straight.

But even if you have a pretty good understanding of the importance of energy and water conservation and proper waste disposal, these spooky stats could still get you shaking in your boots this Halloween.

  • The U.S. economy wastes 61 to 86 percent of the energy that flows through it
    Lawrence Livermore National found in its 2012 annual report on national energy waste that the U.S. economy is 39 percent efficient, less efficient than ever before. The study factors in energy wasted in everything fro electricity plants and cars to home appliances and furnaces. The U.S. gets a failing grade for efficiency.
  • Americans spend $130 billion a year on wasted energy
    A 2009 McKinsey & Company study found that American homes and businesses collectively pay for $130 billion worth of energy that powers standby appliances and heat that warms the air on the other side of the cracks in their walls.
  • The amount of energy wasted by 75,000 average American homes in a single year is equal to the waste that occurred in the 2010 BP Oil Spill
    It would cost $1 billion to retrofit all the homes in a small city and save the same amount of energy that would have been generated with the roughly 50 million gallons of oil that leaked into the Gulf of Mexico, according to a study from Energy Savvy.
  • The percentage of household income spent on utilities has climbed 70 to 119 percent since 2001.
    Average Americans making more than $50,000 a year spent 9 percent of their income on utilities in 2012, up from 5 percent in 2001. Families making less than $10,000 a year spend 78 percent of their income on utilities, up from 36 percent in 2001, according to data from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.
  • Aging water infrastructure leaks 7 billion gallons of drinking water a day in the U.S., enough to fill 11,000 swimming pools.
    From the 2009 ASCE infrastructure report card.
  • California estimates it will have a water shortage equal to the needs of 4 to 12 million families of four by 2020
    That’s just a little more than six years from now
  • Americans use 127 percent more water today than we did in 1950
  • About 95 percent of the water we use goes down the drain 
  • One drop per second from a leaky faucet could equate 2,700 gallons a year.

If you’re spooked, you’re not the only one. These are scary statistics and they don’t even touch on the environmental impacts of our wastefulness. That’s, perhaps, for another post.

While we might be becoming more aware and proactive with our habits, we’re still living with the ghost of our old ways and battling powerful energy waste demons.


Electricity use is on the decline nationally, though bills keep going up.

If you would like help exorcising some of the energy waste demons in your Colorado home this Halloween, contact the Energy Resource Center. We will do a comprehensive home energy audit and make energy-saving home improvements free of charge for income-qualified residents of El Paso, Teller, Fremont, Elbert, Douglas, Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Saguache and Rio Grande counties or for a small fee if you aren’t income-qualified.

No one likes waste.  That’s why we are the Waste Busters!