From burning firewood to using electricity from renewable sources, the home energy landscape has drastically changed over the last 150 years. This article and infographic explore the history of energy use and what the sustainable future may look like.We no longer have to gather firewood for our wood-burning stoves to keep us warm at night, but there are a variety of energy sources used in each home. Most homes in the U.S. run on either electricity or natural gas, or a combination of both, but homeowners may also employ solar panels or even residential wind-powered solutions too.
Looking at the charts below, you can see that energy consumption has grown significantly each year and in 2018, it hit an all-time high. However, you’ll notice some changes in the way we use each energy source. Coal is the only energy source below that has suffered a decline and renewable energy has recently surpassed nuclear energy. As new technologies are developed, we are finding new ways to meet the increased energy demand. The future of energy consumption will look very different than it does today.
Where does energy in US come from?
By no surprise, oil has been the largest and most popular source of energy. Since the 1950s, oil and natural gas were used to heat homes. Now in 2020, you know that petroleum is used for many other reasons and industries, from powering our cars to packaging products in plastic.
Although coal was another popular source of energy, it has been on the decline for the last few decades. It’s less efficient than other sources and negatively impacts the environment. To answer that problem, the U.S. has been investing in renewable energy sources. Wind, solar, and geothermal energy are proving to be great resources for a clean future.
Are renewables the future?
Although only 11% of U.S. energy production comes from renewable sources, it is expected to grow. Solar, wind, and geothermal technology energy are three of the top sources for renewable energy. Among those, wind is the fastest growing and judging from the production map, it has wide geographic potential as well. Geothermal energy, which uses underground temperatures to transfer energy, is becoming a popular alternative for home heating and cooling. Of course, residential solar panels are gaining wide adoption as well. As renewable energy options become more available, the energy consumption landscape is likely to move toward a more sustainable future.
This infographic from The Zebra walks through the history of energy use, where energy is produced, and what the future of energy may look like.
Author bio: Amanda Tallent is a writer who covers everything from business to lifestyle. She creates content to help people live more informed and confident lives.Want to write guest blog for us? See guidelines here