Home electricity use in US falling to 2001 levels

NEW YORK (AP) — American homes are more energy-efficient these days -- and so are the appliances and gadgets inside the homes. And as a result, the average amount of electricity consumed in U.S. homes has fallen to levels that were last seen more than a decade ago.

According to the Energy Information Administration, power usage is on track to decline this year for the third year in a row. And there are a couple of reasons for that. For one thing, as energy prices rose in the early 2000s, more states adopted or toughened building codes, making builders seal homes better.

Bigger appliances like refrigerators and air conditions have become more efficient, thanks to federal energy standards that get stricter every year. According to manufacturers, a typical room air conditioner uses 20 percent less electricity than it did in 2001. Some TVs use 80 percent less power than similar units in the past. And incandescent light bulbs are being replaced with fluorescent bulbs and LEDs that use 70 to 80 percent less power.

And then there's the switch from computers to laptops, tablets and smart phones. The Electric Power Research Institute says it costs more than $28 to power a desktop for a year -- as opposed to $1.36 to power an iPad.

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180-c-17-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)-"lot more power"-AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports electricity use is dropping. (30 Dec 2013)

<<CUT *180 (12/30/13)££ 00:17 "lot more power"

179-v-32-(Warren Levinson, AP correspondent)--Despite an explosion of electronic devices, Americans' electricity use is falling. AP correspondent Warren Levinson reports. (30 Dec 2013)

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APPHOTO NYBZ305: FILE -This combination of Associated Press file photos shows, top, a house in Duluth, Minn.,with triple-paned, south-facing windows that draw heat from the sun, and bottom an undated photo provided by Lowe's shows weatherstripping being applied to a window. Since the early 2000s more states have adopted or toughened building codes to force builders to better seal homes so heat or air-conditioned air doesn't seep out so fast. (AP Photo/File) (29 Dec 2013)

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APPHOTO NYBZ301: FILE -This combination of Associated Press file photos shows, left, a Cingular "Fast Forward" cradle and Motorola mobile phone in New York on Tuesday Nov. 4, 2003, and an Apple ultracompact USB Power Adapter, on Friday, Sept. 19, 2008, in New York. The average amount of electricity consumed by U.S. homes in 2013 is on track to fall for the third year in a row, to its lowest level since 2001. While we are using more devices, more efficient phone and computer chargers are part of what has changed since the last time power consumption was so low. (AP Photo/File) (29 Dec 2013)

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