The average American uses 11400 Watts of power continuously. This is the equivalent of burning 114 x100 Watt light bulbs, all the time. The average person globally uses 2255 Watts of power, or a little less than 23 x100 Watt light bulbs.

These sentences are taken out of the introduction from the website of the talk “Energy Literacy and climate change” by Saul Griffith, which took place at this year’s ETech in early March. Griffith, inventor, genius and general mastermind, continues, where Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” stops: on each of us personally. And it is not less inconvenient to know how big the energy consumption of our first-world-lives actually is.

What follows is a small example from his talk, where he explains the energy and power basics to all the Mac addicts out there:

Energy is measured in Joules (J)
Power is measued in Watts (W)
1 Watt = 1 Joule / second

Lifting an apple from the ground to a table: ~ 1 Joule

Lifting 40 apples from the ground to a table: ~ 40 Watt

Running your Apple laptop takes 40 Watt.


But I don’t like to condense this great work to just this one example. If you have a little spare time, take a look at Griffith’s work yourself – it will surely be an eye-opener for you if you have not understood or simply not cared about such things yet.

He licensed his materials under CC Attribution 3.0 US, so you can freely distribute and remix his work.