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Efficiency drives home heating, cooling use down

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Residents across the nation are using less of their electricity budget on heating and cooling, a new residential use survey found.

According to the Energy Information Administration, the percentage of Americans' energy budget spent on heating and cooling in 2009 dropped below half for the first time in decadesHeating accounted for just 42 percent of household energy use in 2009, down from 53 percent in 1993.

"The lower energy consumption is attributable in part to more efficient heating and cooling equipment, building practices that resulted in better insulation and more efficient windows, and population shifts to areas with warmer climates," the EIA consumption advisory stated.

The report found that stoves, washers/dryers and other appliances, electronics and lighting accounted for 30 percent of energy use, followed by water heaters at 18 percent, air conditioning at 6 percent and refrigerators at 5 percent.

The EIA's Residential Energy Consumption Survey is conducted by interviewers who consider various aspects of the housing unit, usage patterns and household demographics. The EIA sampled more 12,000 homes for its 2009 survey.

To see the results of the full survey and to break down the EIA data into categories such as fuel use, visit: http://goo.gl/47y9E