Powering a Nation

A Project of the UNC School of Media and Journalism


The average American family burns more than 6,200 pounds of coal a year. How much do you use?
Calculate your personal coal use in this interactive graphic.


Design and programming by Kristen Long
Research by Kristen Long and Jeff Mittelstadt
Camera by Caitlyn Greene, Catherine Orr, Mimi Schiffman and Catherine Spangler


This interactive uses the following sources to estimate coal usage based on location.

Electricity prices
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-826, “Monthly Electric Sales and Revenue Report with State Distributions Report”

Energy consumption
U.S. Energy Information Administration, Residential Consumption of Electricity by End Use, 2001

Appliance and home electronic energy use
U.S. Department of Energy

Average American time use
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, American Time Use Survey, 2009

Energy breakdown by eGRID
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, eGRID 2010 Version 1.1

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