„How Many Light Bulbs“ of Energy do we consume today?

David J.C. MacKay FRS, Professor of Natural Philosophy, Department of Physics made this quite nice video. Good starting point. It does not mean that his concept is fully ok. But first easy to start with soemthing.

Posted in Innovation, Technology and tagged , , .


  1. Hmmm Ralph..
    He talks about „the need to cut down and save 90% of our current energy use“
    Live in caves and use candles?

    How about instead thinking positively:
    Dealing with the energy supply side, with whatever emission reduction is needed

    See http://ceolas.net
    Includes how energy efficiency regulations affect the characteristics of Buildings, Cars, Washing machines etc, with a particular focus on Light Bulbs….

  2. Dear Lighthouse,

    my guess is it is something of both.

    At the end it comes down to the question how to reduce the carbon consumption. No matter how you do it. Both strategies could be part of the goal. It will turn into a not so radical reduction in both parts but still leads toward a serious reduction of energy use and carbon footprint production.

    I aggree with you. Changing the way of producing energy to a greener version will help. But not alone.

    If you can do both in a moderate way than usually the area of exponential costs for extreme technology shifts could be avoided too.

    But perhaps than the good old uncle „Mr. Rebound“ comes around the corner again than? I dont know.

    Regards Ralph

  3. Thanks Ralph,
    the argument is also often made that it’s easier to lower consumption, than to change power plants etc…
    which on the face of it sounds reasonable,
    though (as with light bulbs) the pro-regulators
    project the savings in 2020-2050 perspectives, when such changes will be undertaken.

    Also, as you say (and the ceolas.net website expands on) there are rebound effects and other disadvantages that lower the savings with regulations, apart from reducing consumer choice.

    Apart from informing consumers about energy savings, and if market competition stimulation is rejected, taxation would be the next logical step:
    After all these are bans on safe products, the point is simply to reduce electricity (or energy) consumption.

    I am particularly puzzled why the taxation alternative is rejected, by bankrupt and often „liberal“ governments (as in California), given that the tax could cover subsidies on the energy efficient light bulbs etc

    But there is of course the profit motive, for manufacturers, in all these enforced consumer changes (e.g. http://ceolas.net/#li1ax )

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