Oct 11, 2019

Americans are using less electricity thanks to LED light bulbs

LED light bulbs

Photo: Carmen Jaspersen/picture alliance/Getty Images

American residential electric use has been declining since 2010 because more households made the switch to LED light bulbs, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The annual changes in electricity use aren't massive, but they will likely have significant impacts on household budgets, the environment and energy markets.

The big picture: Electricity consumption increased tenfold between 1950 and 2010, but declined following the Great Recession in 2008. The Journal notes that it's not abnormal for electric use to decline during a financial crisis, but it kept declining well past its end due to the adoption of LED bulbs.

  • The average American household spent about 10% less on electricity in 2017 than in 2010.
  • Residential electricity use in 2017 was as low as it had been since 2000.

The adoption of LED bulbs brought electricity use for lighting down by 26% from 2015 to 2017. The change meant raw consumption dropped from 129.7 million megawatt-hours a year to 95.5 million megawatt-hours.

  • What's next: If the drop in use of incandescent and halogen bulbs continues apace, that figure could dip to 61.3 million-megawatt hours by 2021.

Go deeper: How Axios' Amy Harder is trying to get greener and cheaper electricity

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