Americans! Stay Indoors To Save Energy

Americans have made another amazing discovery: the ultimate energy-saving strategy - is to stay inside all the time!

In 2012, Americans spent an extra eight days at home compared to 2003, according to the American Time Use Surveys. Being at home means using more energy by keeping the lights on and watching TV. But it also means less travel, and it means that fewer people are outside operating offices and stores. So overall in 2012, we saved 1,700 trillion British thermal units (BTU) of heat, or 1.8 percent of the national total, according to an analysis published today in the journal Joule. Thatís about how much energy Kentucky produced in all of 2015.

Specifically in 2012, Americans spent one day less traveling and one week less in buildings other than their homes when compared to a decade earlier. The trend of staying indoors is especially strong for those ages 18 to 24: the youths spent 70 percent more time at home than the general population. At the other end of the age spectrum, those 65 and older were the only group that spent more time outside the home compared to 2003. Next, the researchers want to look at energy consumption changes in other countries as a result of lifestyle changes.

This is just the sort of study we need. In his 1909 classic The Machine, E.M. Forster describes a single world machine that provides all of our needs. And (who knew?) it's also incredibly efficient, because no one ever goes outside.

And of course she had studied the civilization that had immediately preceded her own - the civilization that had mistaken the functions of the system, and had used it for bringing people to things, instead of for bringing things to people. Those funny old days, when men went for change of air instead of changing the air in their rooms! And yet-she was frightened of the tunnel: she had not seen it since her last child was born. It curved-but not quite as she remembered; it was brilliant-but not quite as brilliant as a lecturer had suggested. Vashti was seized with the terrors of direct experience. She shrank back into the room, and the wall closed up again.
(Read more about the Machine by E.M. Forster)

Science fiction aficionados may recall that Isaac Asimov used the same idea to describe the people who lived on Trantor in the Foundation series; children were required to go "outside" at least once per year, as I recall.

Via The Verge.

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