# 320 000 000 000 kWh/day

## Main Question or Discussion Point

320 000 000 000 kWh/day !!!

I was just reading this national geographic article and it states here that the world uses 320 billion kWh/day. That equates to roughly 22, 100W lightbulbs running 24 hours a day for every single person. all >6000000000 of us.
I just find this unbelievable! who uses all this energy, there are 4 people in my house. I'm not sure what our hydro bill is but, equating to burning 88 100w bulbs constantly I don't see how we could even break average. And then there are the countries that use very little energy, I guess we're making up for them by using even more energy. So the average for developed countries must be significantly higher than 22 bulbs running. This is just incredible, no wonder we get brownouts and blackouts all the time around here.

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Pengwuino
Gold Member
Well consider where you live.

Then consider where you go in your average week. How many buildings did you walk into. How many lights, how much electrical equipment do you think is in each building. How much equipment supports everything you do? Hell an obvious example is how many computing devices do you think are currently running simply to keep the Internet up and running. Every product around you has to be made and a good deal of those products were probably made with electrically powered manufactoring devices that take a lot of power.

brewnog
Gold Member
The gas bill for the company I worked for last summer was £30,000 (\$50,000?) per month. I liked that a lot. They only employed about 30 people too.

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What about heavy industries.They should be using the majority of energy i think.

Pengwuino
Gold Member
Why do people publish these stupid statistics anyways. Who thought it woudl be a wonderful idea to show us how much electrical energy the world produces each day by telling us how many light bulbs we use. I mean are we just all brainwashed into thinking "whoa... they're talking about lightbulbs??? wow!!! Because as the average consumer, I really do have a clue how much energy a lightbulb consumes relative to every other appliance I use". I mean lets be realistic! We alllllllllll know that dryers and microwaves just drink electricity. We're talking about... the equivalent of 4 of either of them going 24/7. Now THAT gets the point across. I mean hell, theres probably 22 light bulbs simply in my house....

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Pengwuino
Gold Member
kaos said:
What about heavy industries.They should be using the majority of energy i think.
Not really... I would suspect they use gasoline engines for that real OOMF (torque) necessary to run a lot of the equipment heavy industries use. Plus must heavy industries that I can think of are horribly inconvenient for electricity use (such as above-ground mining, lumber industry.... other things where large amounts of heavy crap are moved?).

russ_watters
Mentor
Pengwuino said:
Not really... I would suspect they use gasoline engines for that real OOMF (torque) necessary to run a lot of the equipment heavy industries use. Plus must heavy industries that I can think of are horribly inconvenient for electricity use (such as above-ground mining, lumber industry.... other things where large amounts of heavy crap are moved?).
Depends on what is meant by "heavy industry" - manufacturing plants do use electric motors almost exclusively. Electric motors have much better (flatter) torque curves than internal combustion engines.

Anway, yes, the answer is that most of the electricity being used in the world is used in commercial and industrial applications. One example, Merck in West Point, PA employs roughly 10,000 people and has a 50 MW generation plant on site. At peak load, that's 50 100W light bulbs.

Because of lax energy codes and stupid builders (owners) an awful lot of that energy is wasted. A building a recently did a study for in Wilmington, DE uses about 400kW for electric reheat for humidity control of its corridor ventilation air, accounting for more than 2/3 of its summer energy costs. This is against the energy codes, but they didn't have an engineer design their mechanical systems (!!!!), they just hired a contractor who threw some crap in.

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Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Pengwuino, I have to agree with you here that I don't see how it really helps to put this in perspective of lightbulbs per person. If anything, it seems to downplay the energy consumption by putting it in units of something as small as a lightbulb (see hittsquad's comments in another recent thread...can't recall which...about how you can make something appear larger or smaller depending on the units you choose).

As to the OP, aside from the commercial/industrial energy consumption, you use quite a bit in the household too. How many different rooms in the house do you have lights on at a time with 4 people living there, and how many bulbs per room? I'll bet that unless you're a very energy-conscious family, there are more rooms than people lit up at night and you're not just turning on one lightbulb per room. But then there's also the air-conditioning in summer, heat in winter (even if you have gas heat, you're using electric to run the blowers), laundry washers and dryers, dishwashers, computers, TVs, radios, refrigerator, electric stove and oven (if you have electric for that), etc. It really does add up.

Electricity use by sector

kaos said:
What about heavy industries.They should be using the majority of energy i think.
eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epm/table5_1.html

Rolling 12 Months Ending in May 2004 (Millions of Kilowatthours):

Code:
Residential Commercial Industrial Transportation All Sectors
1,281,306   1,212,249  1,015,642  7,240          3,516,437

DaveC426913
Gold Member
As far as global energy consumption goes, a person sitting in the dark isn't using use 0 kWh (vastly oversimplifying). The vast majority of their energy consumption has gone into providing them with a place to be in the dark.

How many kWh do you think it took - before you turned a single appliance on - to put that roof over your head, that car in your garage, the clothes on your back, the food in your fridge, the TV stations that grace your screen, the streets under your feet, the lights overhead, the sewers underneath, the building where you work, the computer on your desk?

For every person that has these things, someone, somewhere used energy to manufacture them. This is going on continually as long as we have an economy.

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Kilowatt-hour units can be used for any type of energy

Physics is Phun said:
So the average for developed countries must be significantly higher than 22 bulbs running. This is just incredible, no wonder we get brownouts and blackouts all the time around here.
The National Geographic article was not referring to electricity use. It was referring to all energy use. Instead of using the more-common BTU's, they converted into units of kilowatt-hours. The United States runs on about 100 quads, which is 100 quadrillion BTU's, of energy per year. The world runs on about 400 quads per year.
energy.cr.usgs.gov/energy/stats_ctry/Stat1.html#WProduction

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brewnog
Gold Member
DaveC426913 said:
How many kWh do you think it took - before you turned a single appliance on - to put that roof over your head, that car in your garage, the clothes on your back, the food in your fridge, the TV stations that grace your screen, the streets under your feet, the lights overhead, the sewers underneath, the building where you work, the computer on your desk?
A very good point.

Too many people are happy to waste water, because there's plenty of it. They don't realise just how much energy they're wasting in storing it, purifying it, and pumping it to their house. All adds up!

Brewnog,

Dave was talking about the energy hidden inside commodities. He wasn't talking about wastefulness.

brewnog
Gold Member
Brewnog,

Dave was talking about the energy hidden inside commodities. He wasn't talking about wastefulness.
I know. But it's easy to forget just how much energy is used in processing/manufacturing those things which we don't usually directly associate with energy consumption.

What is wrong with putting things into the perspective of "lightbulb units"? I am sure many people have gone to some kind of science museum that had a bicycle which powered a light bulb. I remember there was one in downtown Atlanta and even though I could light up twelve 100 watt bulbs, I could only maintain that for a short peroid. I think "lightbulb units" would remind people how tired they got from little expirments like the one I just mentioned.

brewnog
Gold Member
theCandyman said:
What is wrong with putting things into the perspective of "lightbulb units"?

I think Pengwuino's issue was that the public might constrict themselves to thinking of electrical energy, rather than all the energy that was actually needed to make their clothes, shoes, food, water etc.

Pengwuino
Gold Member
brewnog said:
I think Pengwuino's issue was that the public might constrict themselves to thinking of electrical energy, rather than all the energy that was actually needed to make their clothes, shoes, food, water etc.
Yah. Everything we have had to be built and most things are done with huge mass-production methods that rely on electricity.