How German Households Use Electricity

Posted by Ted Shoemaker on December 29, 2012

Fully a quarter of the electricity used in the average German household now goes for information, communication, and entertainment electronics. That's the principal finding of a survey commissioned by several German energy agencies. Fifteen years ago it was only 7%.

"There has been a very noticeable increase in recent years in the number of devices, the amount of time they are in use and the size of the screen," said Jan Witt, director of the Association for Efficient Application of Energy, an organization of the power industry, that co-sponsored the study.  

Computer use in the household averages nearly five hours a day, the study showed. And then there are such things as the router, printer, satellite receiver, antenna amplifier, fax, and modem. These devices often use power for standby even when they are idle. Of the average 3,091 kWh used annually per household, Witt reports, 760 kWh go to these devices.

The study also showed that refrigeration and freezing equipment uses 50 to 70% less power than it did 15 years ago. It then took 23% of household power, compared to 16% with today’s efficient devices.

Below is a pie chart, showing exactly where the energy use goes in each household.

Pie Chart Translations:

  • 24.6% TV/Audio and Office
  • 16.1% Cooling and Freezing
  • 13.8% Clothes Washing, Drying, Dishwashing
  • 12.9% Hot Water
  • 9.7% Cooking
  • 8.5% Lighting
  • 14.4% Miscellaneous (Climate, Wellness, Garden, and Other Electrical Devices)


Ted Shoemaker is a now-retired writer and editor based in Frankfurt, Germany.

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