Adapt your lifestyle

The current crisis may be a blessing in disguise, says emeritus Professor Jo Hermans from Leiden University in his book ‘Energy survival guide’.

The crisis may help us to adjust our lifestyles to the fact that energy will be less abundant in future. Politicians may act as if our current way of living is a right of birth, but the energy professor shows us otherwise in his clear, concise and compact book.

The book’s first part, Insight, shows energy aspects of your body (a 100 Watt heater), your home (which are the energy killer appliances and how much does insulation help), and transport (bicycles are eight times more energy efficient than cars). More widely, Professor Hermans provides figures of energy use and CO2 emissions worldwide.

The next section, Outlook, inspects the usual suspects of sustainable energy: biomass (low energy efficiency of only 0.5% in moderate climates), solar PV (15% efficiency), and wind (about 100 W/m2). Geothermal, wave-energy and hydropower might also have great potential, just as nuclear fusion does.

Within the range of energy books, this book’s charm lies in the many and practical data it provides. Engineers and technical students generally prefer such data over talk. This book allows them (and you) to make back of the envelope

calculations to decide which energy solutions make sense.

Jo Hermans, ‘Energy survival guide, insight and outlook’, BetaText, Bergen, 2011 (Dutch version ‘Energie survivalgids’ in 2008), 184 pages, 25,99 euro.

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