“West illustrates the problem by translating the modern human lifestyle – and we live surrounded by our own inventions – into watts. “A human being at rest runs on 90 watts,” he told me. “That’s how much power you need just to lie down. And if you’re a hunter-gatherer and you live in the Amazon, you’ll need about 250 watts. That’s how much energy it takes to run about and find food. So how much energy does our lifestyle [in America] require? Well, when you add up all our calories and then you add up the energy needed to run the computer and the air-conditioner, you get an incredibly large number, somewhere around 11,000 watts. Now you can ask yourself: What kind of animal requires 11,000 watts to live? And what you find is that we have created a lifestyle where we need more watts than a blue whale. We require more energy than the biggest animal that has ever existed. That is why our lifestyle is unsustainable. We can’t have seven billion blue whales on this planet. It’s not even clear that we can afford to have 300 million blue whales.”
the life cycle of innovation takes ever increasing amounts of energy to sustain-the disposable nature of high tech
scarcity can be a driver of innovation because it creates paths of unthinking current norms-rather than an upward path of increasing energy you are forced to look at low tech,high tech, past tech, this leads to the appropriate tech.eliminate the need for air conditioning by using combination tech-for example.
quantifiable energy units might be a blind path because it limits the ability to think in terms of eleminating the need for air conditioning-thermal mass, solar chimneys, proper shade