Energy Saved is Energy Made

The equilavency of not using a unit of energy to the production and marketing of a unit of energy is understood by some government agencies, like the EPA. Our energy policy does not fully support the EPA's findings, nor does our consumptive habits. This can partly be understood, as we first have to have produced energy and delivered it to market before we can use it efficiently. Once a resource to consumer system is established, more profits come from increasing the flow of material thru the system. We thus give the production of energy more value than the saving of energy.

Once an energy system is established, however, the equilavency of production of energy and efficient consumption becomes clear in a formulaic way. We can use some real world examples from electricity usage for homes in the US. Data is from the EIA , for residential usage of electricity by the US in 2009.

Using to light home(s) in , will use kWh of electricity for a . This will in turn use tons of coal, given coal is used to generate percent of electricity in .

From a little experimentation with the formulas above it can be seen that changing light bulbs in all homes in the US from incandescent to LED, will save 40 million tons of coal a year. The Spruce No. 1 mine in Applachia which would have been the nations largest mountain top removal project, was to produce 44 million tons of coal. This project has recently been refused its permit by the EPA due to the environmental affects of mountain top removal. However, there are many mountain top removal sites in operation and planned in the Appalachian's. By just changing our light bulbs, we can save almost that much coal per year. That is a savings of 1 Appalachian mountain per year (roughly speaking). See The Biggest Environmental Crime in America For the Sake of 24 Jobs.

We can see in the above where energy production equals efficient use of energy equals natural resources. We just changed light bulbs and saved a mountain. There are many more well documented methods to improve the efficiency of our homes. See the web references. The formuals above equated energy as it moved from the resource to energy production to energy usage product cycle. Not included in the formulas, are other costs associated with the energy product cycle. Such as CO2 emmissions, mercury emmissions, environmental destruction, transport costs of the resource, etc. By including these costs, it will be seen that in some cases, the policy of saving energy can surpase the production of energy.

Web References

Mountain Top Removal Road Show
I Love Mountains
Mountain Justice
EPA Mountaintop Mining
Smithsonian: Mining the Mountains
Moving Mountains
Real Cost of Coal

Energy Star
Refrigerator Calculator
Energy Star lightbulbs
USGBC - Green Building
EPA Science and Technology
Home Energy Saver
EIA Electric Power Annual

LEED for Homes
Energy Star for Homes

Movie References

Last Mountain