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Energy Epidemiology - April 15, 2020

Among all things COVID-19, what about the profound shift in energy use? The title above isn’t just a tongue twister, it actually is a science. I had wondered what would happen if everyone in the world stopped commuting and began heating their homes all day long instead (at least for us in Massachusetts). Now that we can actually observe the effects, it’s clear that transportation consumes far, far more energy than domestic climate control.

I had estimated that some households, in some months, have nearly equal costs for gasoline as for home heating fuel. Of course, further ruminating reminded me that they are not quite equal, as most people, like myself, never turn their heat off, just down. However, when I’m not in my car, the car is completely off.

So, in this season of contagions, admire the outdoors through your window from your chair or go out in it if you dare. Breathe. It may be the cleanest air.

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