Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

What minimum level of energy consumption do you think is achievable?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU
 
gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:18 PM
Original message
What minimum level of energy consumption do you think is achievable?
For the US? For the world? I mean, what if we limited our energy consumption to growing and transporting our food, sheltering ourselves in modest accomodations, modestly heated and cooled and located close to work (for those of us still working). Can a capitalist economy function under such a minimalist orientation? Assume for now that it could - by what percentage do you think we could reduce our carbon-fuel consumption? Does anyone have any links were others have considered these questions?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. The only solution that is acceptable in order to maintain an economy
that will sustain 6 billion people, is a clean alternative energy source. "Toys" are necessary in order to keep money circulating to workers, which then become consumers. Frankly, I believe the technology already exists, but people like Dick Cheney will keep us from that technology until they suck every possible profit from the oil resources.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 11:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. I think a shift from consumer-oriented to infrastructure is long overdue.
Not only would a major reduction in planned obsolescence and throw-away goods (in favor of repair/refurbish) massively reduce energy use, the construction of a national high-speed rail system and regional light rail systems along with civil infrastructure would alleviate massive growth in demands for transportation. It's insane how much of our housing, building, and infrastruture is designed under the presumption of an endless supply of cheap fossil fuels.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 02:09 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. You can't build using the same materials that we use today.
We need to combine green concepts in management decisions and we need to rethink planned obsolence whereever possible. But you need to keep people busy, and/or you need to find some way to decrease population.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
2. wouldn't be necessary if everybody tried to make energy as well as use it
put solar panels on your house that feed into the grid while you are at work, put some wind turbines up on your farm, a water turbine in your creek, or something that makes electricity by bobbing in the ocean.

We have been sold a false dichotomy--either live with oil or struggle to survive without while we wait for energy companies to provide an alternative.

We need to rethink how we make energy away from a centralized system that lets a handful of monopolies abuse us at will. If you had a couple of solar cells on your roof, when the utility charged too much, you could disconnect from them.

We have to do this because our elected officials are failing to protect us and look out for our best interests on this.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:26 PM
Response to Original message
3. Any such future must include zero population growth
those who think conservation and efficiency can match growth year after year are hopeless optimists.

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
The_Casual_Observer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 10:42 PM
Response to Original message
4. I'll stay in bed all day tommorow, just as a test.
I'll let you know how it works out.
:)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 11:00 PM
Response to Original message
5. If cars got 50 mpg, we would be in great shape. 75% of our energy
goes to transportation. Building all new buildings with great insulation and other energy savings things would help a lot. Having heating and a/c systems in offic buildings that actually kept the room at the requested temperature would help a lot. Havong a great train system. To get from Atlanta to Miami on Amtrak I have to go through Washington DC.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 11:11 PM
Response to Reply #5
8. Instead of obsessing on a 'better' car, why not reduce the need for cars?
How much energy is consumed just in the production of an automobile? Just how much better does it have to be in mileage to offset just the energy used in producing it? Mining, shipping, foundries, and fabrication of all the materials and components followed by assembly and more shipping - that's lots of energy.

I think of my absolute favorite transportation system and how little energy it consumes per passenger mile and wonder why there aren't more - instead of having it as the only moving national monument. (The cable cars of San Francisco.)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 06:08 AM
Response to Reply #8
12. If I was in charge, I would ban all personal auto traffic in every
major city. Before I did that I would make sure the city transportation system was very good though. Half the problem with big cities is the traffic is so bad.

As for cable cars and street cars - I grew up with them in Pittsburgh. Seems a lot of cities had them but GM had lots of buses and wanted to sell them. SO they created shell companies to buy out the street car companies in the 40-60's and replace them with GM buses. When the feds finally figured it out it was too late.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
gristy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-04-06 11:07 PM
Response to Original message
7. My monthly home energy usage is 1520Kwh
Edited on Sat Mar-04-06 11:25 PM by gristy
About 1/4 of that is electricity, and 3/4 of that is gas for heating a poorly-insulated 1200 sq foot home (temps in the 50's).
Assuming bright sunshine on average 6 hours/day (perhaps optimistic), solar electric panels can generate in one month a total of (12W/sq ft)*6hr/day*31day = 2.23 Kwh/sq ft. So to generate the same amount of electricity that I am now consuming, I would need 302Kwh/(2.23Kwh/sq ft) = 135 sq feet (hmm, that's not too much...). Cost of those solar panels would be about ($50/sqft)*125sqft = $6,250 (ouch). I guess that's why I keep reading about how the cost of solar panels needs to come down... But I would also need either a way to store that electricity for night and cloudy day consumption, or be able to buy and sell power from/to the power company. I would also need either a lot of solar thermal panels for home and water heating and/or more electric panels if I had big cooling needs.

But these are all power generation considerations. My first question is how much can the US reduce its energy consumption if we had the political and social will? If everyone was willing to greatly reduce their energy consumption because they knew that everyone else had to and was willing to also do so, how much could our energy consumption be reduced while still feeding and sheltering all of us? I wonder if someone has done the research to try and answer this question.

edited for clarity
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. A lot of the solar homes are still connected to the grid and sell
their excess electricity to the electric companies. They also have batteries that store excess first so that you still have your own electricity during cloudy days and nights.

If we took $2 billion a week and put solar panels on homes through the country instead of shooting up Iraq - just think of what kind of shape we could be in.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-05-06 12:03 AM
Response to Original message
9. depends on how many drugs i consume...just kidding
about 25-50 percent depending on where one lives and how far one travels to work. i could reduce my heating and cooling by 50% if i had increased insulation ,new windows,heating and cooling systems. i could reduce my gasoline consumption by over 75% if i worked with in 5-10 miles from where i live. but i don`t have the money to rebuild my home and i cannot find a job in where i live. i drive 55 miles a day to make 10 dollars an hour..can`t fix nothing on that kind of money.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Thu Apr 24th 2014, 01:58 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (01/01/06 through 01/22/2007) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC