Are You Energy-Wise or Are You An Energy Waster?

If you live in the United States, see how you measure up against others, and how choices you make at home and in the way you travel could help to protect the atmosphere. If you live outside the United States, take a look at our global carbon map.

Enter your zip code to begin calculating your energy use.

Or gauge your energy use against the average in these cities:

  • New York: 10027
  • Los Angeles: 90010
  • Dallas: 75201
  • Seattle: 98101
  • Atlanta: 30301
  • Chicago: 60621

Share Your Scores and Challenge Friends

 people have taken the Challenge. The average score is . Can you beat it?

See how you score against people in your region and around the world. If you have a great score, share it with the world on Facebook and Twitter.

Learn how the energy you use impacts your carbon footprint.

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See Personal Energy Meter sources »

Your Final Tally

You have completed all the questions.

 people have taken the Challenge. The average score is .

This meter measures your personal energy score based on the decisions you make in your home and in travel. It's different from some per-person calculations you may have seen, which factor in each nation's total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, including those from industrial and commercial activities. To see what those total per-capita emissions look like in the United States and around the world, see our global carbon map.

See Personal Energy Meter sources »

Click on any question again to change your values.

Your Individual Tallies
  • In the Home: 0

    Tip: A programmable thermostat can help you easily turn down energy use when you are away or asleep.

    For ideas on how to reduce your impact at home, visit the Great Energy Challenge Mini Calculators.

  • On the Road: 0

    Tip: Use mass transit, ride sharing or a bicycle at least a couple days a week to cut down energy while commuting.

    For a month-by-month plan to slim down your carbon emissions on the road, in the home, and for everyday living, visit our Energy Diet.

  • Renewable Energy: 0%

    Tip: See if your utility allows you to purchase solar or wind energy for a portion of your electricity use.

  • In the Air: 0

    Tip: Consider taking a train instead of a plane for shorter trips.

Energy Use (tons of CO2 per year)

  • Your Total Score


  • Regional Average


  • National Average


Fast Facts: Energy use in homes accounts for 21 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

  • In the Home


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  • You can test your home for air tightness—and energy efficiency—using a lit incense stick on a windy day. If the smoke moves horizontally near windows, doors, or electrical outlets, you have an air leak.

    Energy use in homes accounts for 21 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

  • When purchasing new appliances or electronics, always buy items with the Energy Star label.

    If every household in the United States switched to compact fluorescent bulbs in just one room, power plants could reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 1 trillion pounds a year—the equivalent of taking 87 million cars off the road.

  • Purchase a high-quality permanent furnace filter. These can cost up to $100, but will save hundreds of dollars in disposable filter costs over their lifespan.

    A dirty filter makes a furnace work harder. Cleaning or replacing yours can cut heating costs by as much as 5 percent.

  • Use a programmable thermostat to automatically turn down heating or cooling when you’re out. When home, keep the temperature set to no more than 68°F(20°C) in winter and no less than 78°F (26°C) in summer.

    As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling—making it by far the biggest chunk of your utility bill.

  • For every degree Fahrenheit you lower your thermostat in winter, you can save up to 6 percent in energy use.

    Air leaks around doors, windows, and outlets can increase your heating and cooling bills by 10 percent per year.

How many people live in your house or apartment?


What is your average monthly electric bill?


Do you use natural gas?

What is your average monthly natural gas bill?


Do you use heating oil?

What is your average monthly heating oil bill?


Do you use propane?

What is your average monthly propane bill?


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  • On the Road


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  • Keeping your tires properly inflated and aligned can improve your gasoline mileage by up to 3.3 percent.

    It used to be that replacing a clogged air filter could boost fuel efficiency, but that doesn’t work on cars sold after 1980.

How many cars do you personally drive?0

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  • Renewable Energy


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  • Buying green power from your utility allows you to use renewable energy without having to invest in equipment like solar panels.

    Renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, accounts for less than 4 percent of electricity generated in the United States.

Do you purchase any renewable energy, such as wind, solar, biofuel, or wood?

How much of your energy comes from these sources?0%

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  • In the Air


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  • Offset the carbon you use when flying by donating money to reputable carbon-reduction projects.

    A round-trip flight for a family of four from New York to Hawaii results in more CO2 emissions than the average U.S. car emits in a year--5.5 metric tons.

  • For short trips, consider taking a train instead of flying. Airplane emissions on short trips can be double that of trains.

    Short flights are less fuel-efficient than longer flights, because a greater portion of the trip is spent in take-off and landing, when engines are working hardest.

How many long round-trip flights (more than 300 miles) do you take each year?


How many short round-trip flights (300 miles or less) do you take each year?


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More Energy Features

  • Photo: Aerial view of a city at night

    The Great Energy Challenge

    The National Geographic initiative is a call to action to become actively involved, to learn more and do more—to change how we think about and consume energy so that we can all help tackle the big energy questions.

  • An interactive map shows four ways to look at carbon emissions around the world.

    Global Greenhouse Gas Footprints

    See how the world's biggest economies stack up on emissions with an interactive map.

  • The changing Arctic: interactive map from National Geographic

    Interactive Map: The Changing Arctic

    See the shrinking sea ice, increased shipping, and energy exploration sites that are part of an evolving picture of the Arctic.

  • Screenshot from an interactive bubble map of fossil-fuel subsidies worldwide

    Global Fossil-Fuel Subsidies Map

    See which countries pay the most for tax breaks and other mechanisms that keep fossil-fuel prices down.

Did You Know?

Between 2002 and 2007, the wind power industry in the United States grew by an average of 29 percent annually.

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    The industry promises jobs to a state badly in need of an economic boost, but the work so far isn't where you might expect it to be.

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