AC Accounts for 2/3 of home summer electric use; over 80% of discretionary electric use in Texas research trial

(AUSTIN – May 7, 2014) Homeowners and utilities in areas with hot summers already knew air conditioning was the dominant electric use between June and August. The latest quarterly research report from Pecan Street puts a number on just how much of that home electric use comes from air conditioning.

Drawn from a sample of 40 homes in a research trial led by the University of Texas-based Pecan Street, the report indicates that electricity used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) accounted for two-thirds of home summer electric use and over 80 percent of discretionary electric use in the summer of 2013.

Having hard data on the mix of home electricity uses — particularly during summer peak demand hours — is particularly important to researchers and electric utility planners developing approaches for reducing peak electric use or shifting this use to a later time.

The report is available for free on the Pecan Street Dataport. The underlying data used to develop the report is also available for free to academic and NGO researchers conducting scientific and public interest research or developing curricula.

Formed earlier this year by a consortium of university and NGO researchers, Pecan Street Dataport provides a suite of online research tools that includes the world’s largest research database of customer energy and water use.

“We are pleased to provide this report for free to everyone and to provide the underlying data for free to university and NGO researchers and high school teachers,” said Pecan Street Inc. CEO Brewster McCracken, the report’s lead author.

The research sample consisted of 17 newer homes (1-7 years old) and 23 older homes (15-72 years old). Ten of the newer homes and three of the older homes were participating in an ongoing time-of-use pricing trial; five of the newer homes and 18 of the older homes had a smart thermostat.

Underlying data available to Dataport subscribers includes 15-minute interval electricity use and HVAC use from June 1 to August 31, 2013 as well as the brand, model, size and age of each air conditioning compressor, the age and square footage of each home, and whether the home was part of the time-of-use pricing trial.

Contact:   Colin Rowan,, (512) 222-9603