How much energy do you use? Do you have any idea?

Here in Melbourne we have been subjected to an unrelenting campaign of messages and restrictions aimed at reducing speeding and drink driving. No-one can have missed the message, and anyone who gets caught must not have been paying attention. Anyone driving here will know it works.

Likewise there has been a campaign of rules and announcements aimed at making us conscious of our water usage and reducing how much we use. This is personal consumption, where you get to turn off the tap. Everyone now knows that the target is 155 litres per person per day. It works: usage has dropped.

If anything energy usage and conservation is even more important, but does anyone know how much energy they use or how much they should be using? There is little doubt that a similar public awareness campaign could achieve similar results to reduce the the energy we have direct and personal control over as a consumer: the energy each of us could use less of by our own direct actions.

If there were such a campaign and we were setting out to reduce our personal energy usage,  I can think of 4 main categories to consider.

  1. Electricity. Just read the meter. Our usage is about 12 kWh/person/day.
  2. Gas, liquid or solid fuel used in the home for heating and cooking. For most of us that is piped natural gas, but it could be LPG or something else. Our usage is about 60 MJ/person/day, mainly for winter heating.
  3. Gas or liquid fuel used for transport. Mostly that will be petrol or diesel. Our usage is about 800 litres/person/year, mainly for short car trips.
  4. Energy used in shared transport, including trains, buses, aeroplanes, etc. Not so easy to measure.

So there you have it. How much energy do you use? How could you get by with less?