Homes account for over 20 percent of the total amount of energy consumed in the United States. This isn’t entirely shocking news. But what is surprising is that a hairdryer, on average, uses more than twice the watts as a vacuum cleaner; video game systems require significantly more juice than DVD players; dehumidifiers are much more energy-guzzling than humidifiers; both satellite dishes and espresso makers each consume two gallons of gas annually; and that it costs New Yorkers an average of .2 cents a month to operate an electric can opener.

That said, I’m pretty much obsessed with a new interactive chart from GE and Lisa Strausfeld that breaks down the energy consumption of 53 home appliances in engaging, easy-to-understand ways.

The chart has four layers. The first layer ranks the appliances by how many watts they use on average. Electric furnaces lead the pack with a whopping 17,221 watts. The second layer of the chart reveals how much it costs to use each appliance by day, month, or year in individual states. For me, it looks like I’m spending almost $50 annually to be entertained by the idiot box: the cost, on average, to operate a standard TV, cable box, and DVD player in New York each year is $48.94.

The third layer shows how many gallons of gas each appliance uses on a daily, monthly, and yearly basis. Central air conditioners, water heaters, and electric furnaces are the worst offenders ... not surprising considering that temperature-altering appliances usually cost the most to operate and have the heaviest eco-footprint. The fourth layer is the most fascinating as it shows what 1-kilowatt hour can yield for each appliance. For example, using a toaster for 1-kilowatt hour can produce 36 pieces of toast while for a wireless router 1-kilowatt hour yields 6 days of use.

I highly recommend taking some time to play around with GE’s nifty Home Appliance Energy Use chart. Let me know in the comments section if there were any big surprises that you encountered while doing so. 

Via [Fast Company]

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) reports on design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.