Thursday, October 29, 2009

Amount of energy we consume?

Just read in this interesting post at that Americans in 2004 consumed about 342,700,000 Btu (British thermal units, the standard measure of energy), per capita, per year. That converts to about 230,000 nutritional calories per day. Only two or three thousand of those calories are consumed in the form of food; the rest of the energy--well over 200,000 calories' worth per day--is used to heat and cool our homes, transport us from place to place, etc.

Obviously, that's a lot of energy. I wonder how much of it is used needlessly? I know I use more than I need to just for foolish reasons; for instance, making multiple grocery shopping trips per week, when a minimum of foresight would enable me to get everything in one trip. Each shopping trip uses about a gallon of gas, which contains energy equivalent to about 31,000 calories. Plus it uses other resources, like my time--forty minutes of driving alone, plus the time spent in the store. I think I need to try to be more conservative (with resources). :)

I recommend the site--very interesting, especially today's post on windmills. :)


  1. You are so right about shopping trips wasting time and energy!

    I do our food shopping online, once a week, and it arrives at our door. We do make the odd trip out for extras, but since we can walk to the supermarket in 90 seconds, we don't use any fuel (or much time) doing it.

    Online grocery shopping is efficient esp when shopping for a crowd; and I an really grateful for it. Can't imagine how big families cope in places where they physically have to walk round a store picking up food and packing it into a trolley

    I am not sure how much (relatively) we spend in heating or cooling our home, (hot) water, etc. I am aware that there are hidden costs to home schooling - like heating your home all day, because it is full of people; whereas if the children went to school, we would use far less water and heat during the day.

    I am thankful for the heat/water/energy we have. Many people are not so blessed. We try to use our resources wisely - but I guess there is always room for improvement.

  2. If only online shopping were available here! Would save me so much time and energy.

    You may be using more energy by keeping your children at home, but I would imagine that divided thirteen or fourteen ways, it doesn't come to much per capita. :) And I believe that most in the UK/Europe use less energy than we do here in the US, without feeling themselves deprived in the least.


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