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The True Cost of Powering a Light Bulb for a Year (Infographic)

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The True Cost of Powering a Light Bulb for a Year (Infographic)

by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York on 12.10.10

Image: GOOD

Ever wonder how much electricity it takes to keep a single light bulb running for the year? The folks over at GOOD did, and they produced this great infographic to make the answer (alarmingly) clear. The short of it? It takes way more than you’d think. Here are a few of the more surprising revelations from the piece:

For starters, it takes 714 pounds of coal to power a single light bulb for a year. Or, 143 pounds of natural gas. Or nearly 9 days’ worth of sunlight hitting a 100 square meter solar array. Or 0.035 pounds of uranium. Or over two and a half hours of a hydroelectric plant operating at 80% capacity.

You’re getting the picture. One thing this graphic accomplishes nicely — beyond presenting folks a concrete connection between the energy they use and where it comes from — is it demonstrates how gruesomely under-valued our natural resources are.

How much does it cost the American consumer to run a single light bulb year round? It varies, depending on where you live, but it’s not more than a few bucks. And yet, potentially, 700 pounds of coal — which must be mined, transported, and burned, and which generate hazardous byproducts that US tax dollars go towards clean up — went into bringing you that power.

Check out the full-sized infographic at GOOD.




About pfiddle

Fiddle teacher - mostly Irish trad. Fiddle, mandolin and concertina. Eco-warrior, won E.U. Green Flower Award for Eco Accommodation. Also Irish (Gold) GHA. Green Hospitality Award. Mad keen on self-build - especially straw-bale and cob. 55 with a full head of (slightly) graying hair. No tattoos or piercings. Fond of animals - but legally so. Fond of food - I eat nothing else. Vegetarian by choice, Irish by the grace of birth, Munster by force of (rugby) arms.

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