Energy policy and accounting

posted by Kaihsu Tai on January 20th, 2007

(Remember the coming week is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity!)

This week, I received from the European Commission a book Energy Futures: The role of research and technological development (ISBN 92-79-01639-3; available at the EU Bookshop). It was disappointing, full of hot-air and bad PowerPoint-style figures. Some better books on this topic are Energy Beyond Oil by Paul Mobbs (ISBN 1-905237-00-6) and, from a more personal aspect, How We Can Save the Planet by Mayer Hillman and Tina Fawcett (ISBN 0-141-01692-2).

On that note: for the first time(!), I calculated from my electricity bill how much I am using. For the last half year or so, I used on average 11.52 MJ/d of electricity. This is about the same as the food-energy I am eating. Next, I will try to find out about my gas and water usage.

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  1. On January 30, 2007 at 06:23 Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    With natural gas, I am at 17.4 MJ/d, averaged over the last year: something like 12 MJ/d for summer and 22 MJ/d for winter.

  2. On January 30, 2007 at 17:30 Adam (Southern California) said:

    I did the calculations for my apartment, and over the past year it averages out to 58.6 MJ/d for electricity and 2.9 MJ/d of natural gas. That’s for two people, so per person that would be 29.3 MJ/d from Southern California Edison and 1.4 MJ/d from the Southern California Gas Company. The electricity peaks from about August to October because of the air conditioner usage. Gas we just use for cooking, so we don’t use much. We have a heater in the apartment, but we’ve never used it and I don’t even know if it’s gas or electric.

    I’m sure my biggest energy hog, though, is my car. I drive about 20,000 miles a year. At about 25 miles per gallon, that’s 800 gallons of unleaded a year, or a little over 2 gallons a day.

  3. On January 31, 2007 at 05:29 Kaihsu Tai (Oxford, England) said:

    That is a lot!: 7.6  L/d of premium gasoline is about 250 MJ/d. By the way, this federal government fuel economy website is useful.

    If I owned (rather than rent) my flat, I would do some work to the heating and insulation systems so it would not be horribly ill-designed and energy-wasting as it is right now.

    Paul Mobbs said that the energy use for the average person around here can be evenly split into 4 parts: food, electricity, heating, and transport (if I remember correctly).

  4. On January 31, 2007 at 19:04 Adam (Southern California) said:

    Of course, those are all just direct energy costs. Energy costs figure into everything we buy, but they\’re dispersed throughout the system.

    I used to drive closer to about 24,000 miles a year, but at the time I was living, working, going to school, and visiting my girlfriend all in cities pretty far from each other. In the last year I\’ve finished school and gotten married, so my driving has gone down considerably. I might do closer to about 15,000 a year, but I haven\’t really been keeping track.

    Also, I checked and found out that the heater in my apartment is gas, but we\’ve literally never turned it on. Just due to circulation and such (we live in one of the upper levels of a south-facing apartment near the top of a hill), our apartment is always warmer than it is outside, which is great during the winter but can be insufferable at times during the summer.

    In 2000, when I had been living alone in a different apartment for about a year (including one winter), I received the long form of the Census survey, and one of the questions they asked was how I heated my home. I came to that question and realized I had never considered it, because the issue had never come up. I searched around the place for a while before concluding that, in fact, I had no method of heating my home, not even a space heater.