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Energy, Energy Everywhere

December 2, 2014
Energy, Energy Everywhere

Have you ever considered how much energy is actually being used by the world? What about in the U.S.? According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the U.S. was responsible for about 19% of the world’s energy consumption in 2010.

That brought the total 2010 U.S. energy supply tab to $1.2 trillion, which was 8.31% of the U.S. economy’s total production of all goods and services that year.

Powered by Lightning?

Here’s another interesting way of looking at energy – think of it in terms of the energy generated by lightning bolts. How many lightning bolts do you think it would take to power the entire U.S.?

Estimated calculations have shown that an average lightning bolt could have the potential to power 56 homes for one day. That may not sound like much, but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an average of 22 million lightning bolts hit the ground in the United States every year.

Those 22 million strikes of lighting could power 1.23 billion homes for one day, or about 3.4 million homes per year. In 2013, there were almost 133 million total housing units. In other words, 22 million lightning strikes could potentially power 2.5% of the housing in the U.S. for one whole year.

Do We Really Use That Much Energy?

The average home uses the energy equivalent of one lightning bolt every 56 days. It would take a total of about 880 million lightning bolts to power all of the houses in the U.S. for one year.

When taking all of this into consideration, you can see why it is so important to use efficient energy sources. If more efficient sources of energy are not being utilized, the trend of increased energy output every year will continue until energy costs skyrocket and the effects on the environment become irreversible.