Eradicating Energy illiteracy…..

What is Energy illiteracy?
This can be explained as follows: Imagine a person who is 3 meter tall (9feet) and has a bodyweight of 40kg (80pound); your mind will directly be able to visualize this person’s body shape……right? This means you are length and weight literate!

If I tell you that this morning I ate 5kiloJoule of food for breakfast; for sure you will be puzzled about this information; you probably have no clue about if that amount is a lot or a little. The same when I tell you that my car is very energy efficient because it consumes only 5MegaJoule per km. You will again probably have no clue if it is really efficient or instead extremely in-efficient. You are simply not able to determine if this energy amount is a lot or a little because we never talk about a car’s efficiency in Joules per km. The fact that most people have no clue about if a certain amount of energy is a lot or a little; can be called energy illiteracy.

Even the energy-people are energy illiterate because they never look outside their own industries. The oil-guys talk in barrels; the power-guys in watts, mega and GigaWatts, the coal-guys talk Metric Tons; the gas-guys talk in Cubic Feet or meter, Alternative-fuel –guys talk Mtoes, Solar-guys talk Wattpeaks, battery-guys talk Amp-hours, wind-guys talk watts although they should talk wind-watt-peaks to be fair to solar guys……..and the list goes on and on…..

No wonder that most people are energy illiterate; the right unit for energy is never used!

No wonder we are ending up in a huge worldwide energy-crisis….energy illiterate energy experts are advising energy illiterate politicians who in turn try to tell the energy illiterate public what to do…..

It’s time to start addressing the energy illiteracy problem!

The first step towards eradicating Energy illiteracy is introducing a standard:
That should be obvious! The reason why people are length and weight literate is because we always measure those with the same standardized units; no matter if we measure a door or the length of a room or a table. So in order to eradicate energy illiteracy we have to start using a standard unit for all energy forms.

The most obvious unit for Energy is Joule for the following Reasons:
1) Joule is already standardized as the unit for energy in the metric system.
2) Joule is already widely used all over the world in electricity (you probably never heard of that because Joule always has gone under cover of Watt; The definition of Watt is Joule per second.

Watt Cheats the energy conscious customer…..

If you were an energy conscious customer and had a choice between 2 refrigerators that look exactly the same but have a different wattage; which one would you choose.

Let’s say fridge 1 has a 70 Watt compressor and fridge 2 a 100Watt compressor:

Most people will without second thought go for the 70Watt thinking that it consumes less energy.

That’s the way you get cheated; Watt gives you only information about how many Joules it consumes per second while most of the appliances in and around our house consume electricity the whole day with a continuously varying pattern. Information about a second is for sure not enough to determine if something is energy efficient or not.

What is more important to know is how many Joules per hour per day or per year are consumed.

Let’s assume the 70W fridge has a compressor that runs for 3.000 seconds per hour; this means that the fridge consumes 70 x 3000 x 24 = 5.040.000 Joules per day ( = 5 MJ per day). It could be possible that with a new more efficient compressor of 100W the compressor only runs for 1.000 seconds per hour; this means that the fridge will consumes 100 x 1000 x 24 = 2.400.000 Joules per day ( = 2,4 MJ per day).

You see the wattage does not say anything about how much energy is consumed; in above sample the 100W fridge consumed less than half of the 70Watt fridge. This means you can be badly cheated as an energy conscious customers’ when you focus on a low Wattage.

What should be mentioned on all energy consuming devices is how many kJ, MJ it consumes per hour, day or year or certain result. Lamps and TVs are used on hourly basis and thus should be labeled in MJ or kJ per hour. Fridges are used on daily or monthly basis and so should be labeled with how many MJ’s are consumed per day or Month.

In fact Watt should be eradicated all together because it is misleading information; and it has no importance at all for the operation of a certain device.

What we really need to know is energy and current to determine if the electrical wiring can stand the current draw. Wattage is completely irrelevant.