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.
Image courtesy of alpheeis.fr
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.
- In Ontario, an average household uses 9,000 kWh of energy each year, or around 27 kWh per day.
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.
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.
Check the infographic below to see how much fuel it takes to power a 100-watt light bulb.
Image courtesy of revolve.media
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.
|Average time in use (household)
|Window unit (AC)
|Electric space heater
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). 
If we made the switch to energy efficient lightbulbs, it would prevent 500 million tons of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere.