Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jevons Effect In Action: US Homes Use Same Per Capita Energy As In 1971

From "Are American homes more energy efficient? Not exactly." by David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post Staff Writer, Thursday, September 30, 2010:
The amount of energy that the average American requires at home has changed little since the early 1970s -- despite advances in technology that have made many home appliances far more energy efficient.

Dishwashers use 45 percent less energy than they did two decades ago, according to industry data. Refrigerators use 51 percent less.

But on a per-capita basis, Americans still require about 70 million British thermal units a year to heat, cool and power their homes, just as they did in 1971. (One BTU is the energy required to heat one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.)
Read the complete article here.

Using the same or more energy as energy efficiency increases instead of less is known as the Jevons Effect or Jevons Paradox. An economist William Jevons noticed in 1865 that as coal technologically improved the efficiency of coal, more coal was used instead of less. Sometimes, the Jevons Effect is called the Rebound Effect.

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