Under-Use of Body Energy and Over-Use of External Energy

Jørgen Nørgaard

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


    The world’s affluent countries, such as the EU, are facing two severe problems with long-term consequences. One problem is the epidemic-like increase in adverse health effects, which are related to the increasing wealth, primarily appearing as obesity and its associated diseases. This is caused by overeating and under-use of the body energy, due to increased use of mechanized and energy consuming assistance for transport and other daily tasks. This connects to the other problem, namely these countries’ excessive use of fossil fuels and other environmentally harmful forms of nature’s external energy. This paper illuminates the options for integrated solutions to the two problems by making more use of body energy as a means to reduce the use of nature’s external energy. First is listed a human’s body energy used for various tasks and occupations, showing that a person’s use of external energy is and order of magnitude higher, which can be expressed by the scores of “energy slaves” each citizen utilizes. An extra health driven physical effort by humans seems to have negligible direct impact on energy consumption. The paper will, however, indicate examples of significant indirect savings of external energy, achieved by healthy extra human efforts. Also, the paper will suggest ways to integrate energy saving policies with health policies for organizing and designing cities and houses to be “healthy inconvenient”, encouraging or pushing people to use their body in their daily doings. This is an enormous challenge to the conventional way of thinking among architects, engineers, planners, as well as individuals in general.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationECEEE 2005 Summer Study Proceedings : Energy Savings: What Works & Who Delivers?
    EditorsSophie Attali, Kenya Tillerson
    Number of pages581
    VolumeVolume 1
    Place of PublicationStockholm, Sweden
    Publication date2005
    ISBN (Print)91-63-14002-0
    Publication statusPublished - 2005
    EventECEEE 2005 Summer Study : Energy Savings: What Works and Who Delivers? - Mandelieu La Napoule, France
    Duration: 1 Jan 2005 → …
    Conference number: 7


    ConferenceECEEE 2005 Summer Study : Energy Savings: What Works and Who Delivers?
    CityMandelieu La Napoule, France
    Period01/01/2005 → …


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