[Greenbuilding] reduced energy use in USA

Brian Uher brian at amicusgreen.com
Fri Sep 24 06:01:24 PDT 2010

 This chain makes me think about something I had taken for granted long ago.

Taking a step back...what does it mean that we use electrical devices? 
We are trying to eliminate work, physical labor.  We are trying to speed
processes.  So, I wonder if energy intensity will not be monotonic
rising until the globe is electric.  In other words, biology has
time-function limits, electronics do not, effectively for our experience. 

So, plan on seeing intensity indices (kWh/person) rise continuously no
matter what anyone does until we switch to a different grid (first we
had thermal (fire), then mechanical analog (gearworks), then
EMag/digital (electric), etc.).  Perhaps the issue is simply this - will
we move to pro-biological (pro-environment) generation fast enough and
will we control waste heat well enough before we create food/water
shortages...because we'll be in a global war over food and water long
before the "death" of the planet. 

Just a thought.


On 9/23/10 8:47 PM, Jason Holstine wrote:
> This sounds overly positive compared to other numbers I've heard in
> the last 2 years. Emissions are down---I've heard generally around 4%
> year over year, and it's mostly from industrial capacity reduction
> (recession).  But the per capita could be well improved. Our economy
> is plenty more efficient than it was in the 70s---I've seen numerous
> studies about it but can't quote them off-hand. And given our
> population growth trends over 40 years, the per capita numbers could
> skew positive.
> You'd like to think this is inherently b/c  people have gotten on
> board---and as Energy Star and other programs have matured this last
> decade, we'll see nice improvements in per capita numbers this coming
> decade--but unfortunately it'll be primarily b/c of the recession. Not
> only jobs, but pollution is also offshoring.
> On 9/23/10 8:30 PM, "Reuben Deumling" <9watts at gmail.com> wrote:
>     I find this extremely unlikely.
>     But it is also worth noting that carbon emissions (an absolute
>     parameter) is quite different than carbon intensity (a relative
>     parameter if there ever was one).
>     The per capita energy consumption (a third slice through this
>     issue) is also not lower now than it's been since 1970. None of
>     these numbers sound right to me and should be easily shown to be bunk.
>     On Thu, Sep 23, 2010 at 3:44 PM, Vadurro, Rob, EMNRD
>     <rob.vadurro at state.nm.us> wrote:
>         I just read this from Rob Watson's /GreenerBuildings News/,
>         reporting from the Clinton Global Initiative confab:
>         There are some weakly positive signs on the carbon emissions
>         front that show U.S. carbon emissions in 2009 down to 1997
>         levels. Clearly, the economic downturn contributed to this,
>         but U.S. energy consumption per capita is lower than it's been
>         since 1970, and the energy and carbon intensity of the U.S.
>         economy is the lowest it has been since modern records have
>         been kept.
>         If this is true, it would seem more than "weakly positive" (at
>         least to me). Can anyone verify these statements?
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