What would be the effects of federal legislation that requires a universal measure like joules to be reported for every commodities "life-cycle", including the energy inputs for production, distribution, and consumption (when applicable)? Household appliances would use a common measure (joule) to describe for example how many joules are required to heat your home at a particular setting over a period of time during a given season with your particular system. Produce at stores would have labels that identify total joules required for production and total joules required for distribution. Labels for light bulbs would express the average joules over the average lifespan of the bulb in addition to the joule inputs for production and distribution. A barrel of oil would need to identify energy input required of the extraction method and distribution process. A barrel of bio-fuel would be labeled similarly.
Answer by Chad · Mar 21, 2012 at 09:17 AM
What if we considered economic value theory?
What would be the effects of an energy accounting and communication law? What would come from that level of analysis?
Answer by trueb · Mar 20, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Joules are not used because they are such a small measure of energy, for electricity we use kWh. which is 1000 watts times hours.
but energy usage for a particular product is hard to gauge, for example: how big is your house, how good is the insulation, how drafty is it. the energy required in manufacturing and distribution is nearly impossible to gauge. For example: is the engineers desk lamp who designed the product factored in? also is the employee break-room pop machine factored in? There are so many factors to take into account. For distribution lets say you are making the product in California, it will cost more to distribute it to New York then it would be to Washington. Do you take an average? what if demand in a different part of the country changes? How do you account for different products in the same shipment.
In addition disclosing such things about a product could give away trade secrets. If a reverse engineer knew how much energy it took to make, they could gain insight on the manufacturing methods used.
Currently products are labeled with the wattage they use. This is needed because a 20A line in a hour can only take 2400W (in the US that is 120*20). In the case of a light bulb it does not have a set lifespan. how many times is it turned on and off? what is the temp in the room? humidity? is it on a dimmer switch? They all will make a difference in the lifespan of a light bulb.
There is just no feasible way to do this, and with out a doubt companies will lie, and it would cost to much to do an audit.
Answer by Magnolia Macrophylla · Mar 22, 2012 at 10:33 PM
Chad - I agree with this idea. Furthermore, I believe that this would help significantly raise buyer awareness of the sustainability of their products, or, in many products manufactured for this country, the lack thereof.
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