over 2 tons per person of stuff every year, of which about 1.3 tons per per-
son are processed and manufactured stuff like vehicles, machinery, white
goods, and electrical and electronic equipment. That’s about 4 kg per day
per person of processed stuff. Such goods are mainly made of materials
whose production required at least 10 kWh of energy per kg of stuff. I
thus estimate that this pile of cars, fridges, microwaves, computers, photo-
copiers and televisions has an embodied energy of at least 40 kWh per day
To summarize all these forms of stuff and stuff-transport, I will put on
the consumption stack 48 kWh per day per person for the making of stuff
(made up of at least 40 for imports, 2 for a daily newspaper, 2 for road-
making, 1 for house-making, and 3 for packaging); and another 12 kWh
per day per person for the transport of the stuff by sea, by road, and by
pipe, and the storing of food in supermarkets.
Work till you shop.
89One aluminium drinks can costs 0.6 kWh. The mass of one can is 15 g. Esti-
mates of the total energy cost of aluminium manufacture vary from 60 MJ/kg
to 300 MJ/kg. [ ], [ ], [ ]. The figure I used is from The Alu-
minum Association [ ]: 150 MJ per kg of aluminium (40 kWh/kg).
–The embodied energy of a water bottle made of PET. Source: Hammond and
Jones (2006) – PET’s embodied energy is 30 kWh per kg.
–The average Brit throws away 400 g of packaging per day. In 1995, Britain
used 137 kg of packaging per person (Hird et al., 1999).
–A personal computer costs 1800 kWh of energy. Manufacture of a PC requires
(in energy and raw materials) the equivalent of about 11 times its own weight
of fossil fuels. Fridges require 1–2 times their weight. Cars require 1–2 times
their weight. Williams (2004); Kuehr (2003).
–...a rechargeable nickel-cadmium battery. Source: Rydh and Karlström(2002).
–...steel... From Swedish Steel, “The consumption of coal and coke is 700 kg
per ton of finished steel, equal to approximately 5320 kWh per ton of finished
steel. The consumption of oil, LPG and electrical power is 710 kWh per
ton finished product. Total [primary] energy consumption is thus approx.
6000 kWh per ton finished steel.” (6 kWh per kg.) [ ]
90A new car’s embodied energy is 76 000 kWh. Source: Treloar et al. (2004).
Burnham et al. (2007) give a lower figure: 30 500 kWh for the net life-cycle
energy cost of a car. One reason for the difference may be that the latter life-
cycle analysis assumes the vehicle is recycled, thus reducing the net materials