This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 17, 2007

New Zealand Study Takes In-Depth Look at Household Energy Use

What could you learn if you could monitor all types of fuel uses for a large number of households across the country, while also measuring the temperatures within the homes, over a long period of time? What if you could perform a first-hand examination of each of the houses as well? That's exactly what New Zealand's Household Energy End-use Project (HEEP) has accomplished over the past 10 years. The tenth and final annual HEEP report includes data for some 400 randomly selected homes across New Zealand. Among the interesting findings is that about 7 percent of the refrigerators were faulty, and about 9 percent operated only marginally, and most people didn't even realize there was a problem.

The study also measured the standby and baseload electricity use of the nation's households, finding that standby energy (the energy used by switched off appliances) averaged 57 watts per household, while the total baseload electricity use (the electricity used when everything that is usually switched off is switched off) averaged 112 watts per household. A final HEEP report combining earlier annual reports will be published later this year. See the HEEP reports on the Web site of Branz Limited, a research and testing company for the building industry.