How much energy does the average person use in a lifetime?


Q: How much energy does the average person use in a lifetime?

A: Measuring household consumption is challenging so understanding how much energy the average person uses is a hard question. People know they should consume less but many don’t know how.

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Here are a few ways to think about the energy you may consume in your lifetime:

  • The average person uses approximately 562,500 kWh over a lifetime or $61,875, with the current cost in Ontario.[1][2]
  • In Ontario, an average household uses 9,000 kWh of energy each year, or around 27 kWh per day.[3]

Not sure what that means? You’re not alone. A kilowatt-hour (kWh) is a unit of energy that equals one kilowatt of power expended for one hour of time.

Light bulbs

To figure out how much energy a light bulb uses, take the wattage of the bulb and multiply it by the number of hours you predict that you use it, then divide that by 1,000. A 100-watt incandescent bulb in use for 10 hours will consume 1 kWh of electricity.[4] 

Check the infographic below to see how much fuel it takes to power a 100-watt light bulb.

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Household Appliances

Here is a list of some common items that use electricity and how much energy they use. Keep in mind that you should consider both the wattage and the amount of time used.


Item Wattage Average time in use (household)
Clothes dryer 5,400W 5 hours/week
Toaster 1,000W 3 minutes/day
TV 400W 5 hours/day
Floor fan 100W 10 hours/day
Window unit (AC) 900W 10 hours/day
Electric space heater 1,400W 4 hours/day


If you would like to learn how to track your energy consumption, take the Canadian Geographic’s Classroom Energy Diet Challenge!

Save more, Spend less

Challenging yourself to use less energy can have an incredible impact on both your wallet and the environment. For example, the simple act of turning down your temperature by 2°C in the winter and raising your temperature by 2°C in the summer can save 200 lbs of carbon dioxide every year!

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Remembering to unplug appliances when you’re not using them saves another half ton of carbon dioxide emissions, as does replacing a regular light bulb with an energy efficient one (over the bulb’s lifetime). [7]

If we made the switch to energy efficient lightbulbs, it would prevent 500 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.[8]

How have you transformed your lifestyle to be more energy efficient?