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Total energy content of manufactures goods

Total energy content of manufactures goods

Total energy content of manufactures goods

Is there any organized effort out there to measure and manage the total energy content of manufactured goods? It seems to me that producers, consumers and governments could all use accurate information about the total energy used and the sources of that energy if we are going to make intenligent choices about future energy supply. When I say total energy content I mean the cumulative total energy used in producing every component and in providing every service that contributes to the final turn over to the end user. Surely in our highly mechanized world, where human labour has been largely replaced by machines that do the work at every step of the way, the real energy component of our products must be very high. Imagine the effects if end users could read a label on every product that gave the total energy used to create it and a breakdown of the root energy sources!

RE: Total energy content of manufactures goods

One measure is the price of the good. It has to include the energy, labor, and material cost. Government subsidies or taxes can distort this linkage.

RE: Total energy content of manufactures goods

The answer is obviously yes, with a but:

This has been discussed to some extent by the worldwide environment protecting organizations. Without beeing an expert, 'price' and 'cost' will vary with among other things labour cost, energy cost, and raw material cost worldwide.

Transport cost to consumer is another matter.

Up til now the most practical worldwide result has been the tradeable green and withe certificates, based on 'pure energy' consumption principles.

There is a long way to go.

(Search for environmental organizations and their publications.)

RE: Total energy content of manufactures goods

Thanks to both responders so far. I would agree that the total cost of any item is a rough proxie for the total energy required to produce it, although there are lots of things with significant taxes or subsides (direct & indirect) built into them, which distorts the relative impact of the actual energy component. This can be misleading for consumers. It seems to me there are two ways to reduce the negative impacts of global energy consumption:
1. Improve the efficiency of all our production processes faster than the overall growth in production, thus actually reducing total energy use, and
2. Shift energy sources to minimize total negative impacts on the environment and long term human sustainability.
My thinking is we need real numbers for consumers, industry and governments to using in stearing in that direction.  

RE: Total energy content of manufactures goods

The general topic is Life Cycle Analysis or Life Cycle Assessment.  There has been a great deal of effort contributed to understanding costs for energy intensive things like automobiles (raw materials + manufacturing + end use + disposal/recycling).



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