A Brief History of Home Energy Use and How to Save Energy

Humans have required the use of energy since the beginning of time. However, as time progressed, the way we have used energy has evolved. Following is a brief history of home energy use and how to save energy.


The 1700s


In the days before electricity, people still needed a way to provide power in their homes. The most logical choice was wood. Wood was used for heating various rooms in the house as well as for starting fires in the kitchen for cooking food. Wood was the primary energy source because it was easy to obtain, portable, and could be consumed whenever it was needed. During this time period, it was not possible to use wood for every energy need a household had. Other sources of energy that were used include water and wind since they were both readily available and abundant. Animals were also used to power modes of transportation.


The Early 1800s


During the 1800s, there was a shift away from wood as the predominant energy source in the home. The new source that replaced it was coal. It became more popular because the first commercial mines began operating and coal became readily available for use by the public. Coal was preferable to wood because it provided more heat than wood and it took less space to store.


The Late 1800s


In the late 1800s, a great advancement in modern energy use was discovered. Thanks to the hard work of Benjamin Franklin, Nicola Tesla, and other men of science, electricity had been discovered and honed into forms that could be used by the general public.


The 1900s


During the early 1900s, drilling technology advanced to the point where natural gas and oil became accessible. Natural gas and oil became preferable energy sources to coal because they burned cleaner and were easier to transport than coal. By the mid-1900s, these products were widely used in space heating and the generation of electricity. The need for natural gas and oil steadily grew until the 1970s when it stagnated due to an economic downturn and price manipulations by the countries that were producing and supplying the products. By the end of the ‘70s, the need for these materials continued.


The Late 20th and Early 21st Centuries


In the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, people became increasingly aware of the energy consumption in their homes. In 2008, there was another reduction in the demand for oil. However, the need for natural gas remained strong. Thanks to the increased availability of information, people have become more knowledgeable about how excessive energy consumption can have an adverse effect on the environment. In that vein, many people have taken deliberate steps to decrease their energy consumption. One way consumers have accomplished the goal is by using renewable energy sources such as biomass and hydroelectric sources. Since 1995, the number of renewable sources used has increased by over 15%. Both solar and wind power are increasing in use for home energy use and likely will continue to do so well into the future.


Reducing home energy usage


Reducing the amount of non-renewable energy usage in the home has a dual benefit. First, it saves money. It also helps to save the environment. Both of these factors are worthwhile reasons to make every effort to conserve home energy use. Reducing energy usage at home starts at turning off electrical appliances that are not in use and shutting off lights in rooms that are not occupied. However, it extends far beyond those actions. Consider some of these other great ways to save energy in your home that you might not have thought of.


  • Schedule a home energy audit

  • Do not place lamps or televisions near the air conditioning thermostat

  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with more energy-efficient CFLs

  • Set your air conditioner to 78ºF

  • Plant trees and shrubs around the house

  • Have your ducts inspected

  • Run a ceiling fan when your air conditioner is on (but turn it off when you leave the room)

  • Turn the hot water heater temperature down to 120ºF

  • Decrease oven use by using the microwave, toaster, and slow cookers more often

  • Install a programmable thermostat


Over the course of history, our need for energy has grown, but so has our knowledge of it. By applying our advanced knowledge to our current needs, everyone can make strides to reduce the amount of non-renewable energy that is consumed. If you have questions regarding energy and how to make everyday changes that can help you reduce your energy consumption, take a few minutes to schedule a home energy audit today.


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