How Many Lights in a Home? Energy Dept. Counted


Energy Dept. study: 67 lights in average home

Today in Fortnightly

How many lights are there in a home? The Energy Department counted. In a report published three years ago, for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, it estimated that there were 67 lights in the average American home.

Seems like a lot. But you have to include everything. The six-bulb chandelier. That's six lights. The lights in the garage, those at the front steps, in closets and the cellar. Those are totaled too.

A house's bedrooms have 16 lights on average. And the bathrooms have another 10. The exterior has another 9. 

Of course, the numbers really vary by type of home. An efficiency apartment has few rooms and few lights. A single-family suburban home can have many bedrooms and bathrooms and many lights.

The report shows this variation by type of home. While the average for all homes is 67 lights, the average for single family homes is 85 lights, for multi-family homes is 25 lights, and for mobile homes is 38 lights.

It's an enormous variation by type of home. A single family home averages more than three times as many lights as a multi-family home.

The report also shows a variation by state and region that's more difficult to explain. Homes in southern states tend to have fewer lights on average than homes in northern states. Can it be something as simple as southern states are sunnier and so southerners make greater use of the sunshine through their windows? 

Then why do single family homes in northeast states have fewer lights than the national average? Smaller older houses? 

The highest average is for single family homes in Missouri and then Illinois. Houses in Missouri average 104 lights. In Illinois, they average 100 lights. Incandescent bulb manufacturers must have loved selling their wares to these customers. 


Public Utilities Fortnightly, with its expanded format, is increasing its attention to the customers of electric and natural gas utility service, with columnists writing about consumer concerns and protections, new uses of electricity and gas and their value to consumers, and consumer behavior.

Steve Mitnick, Editor-in-Chief, Public Utilities Fortnightly
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