Like other U.S. households, we use a mix of energy to meet our household needs. In our case, we use solar (active and passive), utility electricity (a mix of coal, hydro, and renewables), and wood. Most American homes use utility electricity and natural gas. According to 2009 U.S. Energy Information Administration data, annual energy consumption was 34.9 million Btu (10,225 kWh) per household member. That’s 28 kWh per person, per day.
So how do we compare when you consider total household energy consumption? Besides our family of four, we often have one or more friends staying on site, and they add to the overall energy load. Unlike many homes, which are empty during daylight hours when people are at school or work, our household is occupied by three or four people during the day. Even so, our average daily energy use (electricity plus wood heat) per person has been reduced to about 16.9 kWh—a little more than half that of an “average” American household member.