The Mysterious Disappearance of Energy


Many things in life are categorized as mysteries. From who ate the last cookie in the cookie jar, to why the Cubs will never win the world series, some of these mysteries may never be solved…


image credit: google images

These past couple of weeks, my partner Clara (shout out hey-yo) and I embarked on a journey to solve one of these mysteries.

The mystery we decided to look into is a Mysterious disappearance…The DISAPPEARANCE of Energy (insert your own dramatic music for added dramatic effect here).

After many sleepless nights of trying to figure who was responsible for such a crime we came to the conclusion that there was an obvious suspect, the average American family.

You see, after narrowing down our large suspect pool, when coming to the conclusion with help from our friends Scottie Bittle and Jean Johnson, authors of Who Turned out the Lights (2009) it seemed to be the perfect crime.

In recent years Americans have become known as OVER-consumers of well… everything. As pointed out in the movie Super Size Me.

ImageAmericans have become known for their over indulgence in fast food which is very unhealthy. At the same time Americans are not only over consuming food, they are also over consuming ENERGY. As Bittle and Johnson pointed out the percentage of Americans who own more and more consumer products that emit lots of energy has spiked since 1980.

But why is that the case?

Firstly, according to Bittle and Johnson, in 1973, the average floor space of an American home was 1,660 square feet. It has since increased 52 percent to 2,521 square feet in 2007.

With that additional space comes the American’s necessity to buy more consumer goods.

That natural tendency along with various economic changes creates the perfect crime.


google images

 As the average family size has decreased and the household size as increased, the additional space has been filled with more and more STUFF! Stuff like computers, microwaves, refrigerators, televisions, ipads, tablets, phones. All adding to the average carbon footprint emitted per household in America.

Looking forward  With this trend the household consumption of Energy will continue to rise as household size continues to grow thus continuing this poor trend for the environment.

In their Annual Energy Outlook, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected what the US energy per capita usage would look like by 2035. They concluded that even if

“The increase in efficiency, driven by new standards and improved technology were to take place, it is not high enough to offset the growth in the number of households and electricity consumption in “other” uses.”

These “other” uses are accounted by for the over consumption of goods that fill up the newfound space that continues to be a trend.

This projection establishes the importance of reducing one’s carbon footprint. Given the ever increasing population, household size and tendency to buy consumer goods, these three American trends establish motive and cause for the crime at hand.

Who thought that such a simple fact could provide insight into one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of our time.

Rather than letting this mysterious disappearance become one of the life long unanswered mysteries, we can do something about it. By simply cutting down on ones carbon footprint,  we can solve this mystery once and for all.

Case Closed.


Surprise Surprise

Follow me on Twitter @caseywestonwood



3 thoughts on “The Mysterious Disappearance of Energy

  1. esoser says:

    I like how you wrote this blog with a similar tone as the dazzle that goes along with it…maybe try and embed the video rather than just having the link, that way people reading it can pick up on that consistent voice.

    The use of “Super Size Me” and our over-consumption of food was an interesting point but it just seemed to distract me from the main point of the post.

  2. michaelbenjaminkatz says:

    Even though we know exactly why the Cubs can’t win a World Series (Goat Curse Problems), I thought it illustrated your point well. Is it possible that there are new tasks that require equipment that did not exist before? Like the iPad introducing the tablet industry, and thus requiring more energy to be used on it

  3. Hi Casey,

    I agree with Ethan that your post has a fun, readable tone and storyline. But, I also agree that the Supersize Me reference is distracting. If you were writing about the amount of energy that goes into mass food production in the US, it would make sense. Since your point is increasing house sizes (which did not really come across crystal clear) it is out of place. Embedded the video is definitely the way to go versus the link – it could replace your headshot. All that said, you are showing improvement in your blogging style. Nice use of photos (though try to stick with a consistent size) and hyperlinks.


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