December 7, 2009

A "2000 Watt" Solution?

Just how BRIGHT is our future?

There's a MAJOR energy solution to climate change taking place in in Zurich and other Swiss cities. In their "2000 watt" program, they aim to  reduce the amount of energy residents use by two-thirds and become a 2000-watt society.

How did they arrive at 2000 watts? By dividing all the energy being consumed on earth by the number of people on earth.  It works out to about 2,000 watts per person--roughly the energy it takes to keep twenty 100-watt light bulbs burning. The Swiss are much more energy efficient than Americans, who use 12,000 watts each. Europeans use about half that much--6000 watts on average. Africans and Bangladeshis use less than 700.

How close are the Swiss to their goal? Down to about 3500 watts. Not quite 2000 but a vast improvement with no loss of comfort. Swiss cities are investing serious public money in the 2000 watt vision. making trains and trams easier and cheaper than cars, and encouraging people to cycle or walk.