Why does a car need a big motor? Because the car is heavy and it takes power to accelerate it.
Why is the car heavy? Because it needs a heavy motor and lots of steel structure to support it and to deliver all that power.
Amory Lovins has been asking the right questions for 45 years. We don’t need energy—what we need is the services that energy provides. When we start at the back end and design the whole system with the end goals in mind, the energy needed drops dramatically.
Every pound you take off the body of an electric car (with carbon fiber construction) means the motor can be smaller and lighter, so the battery doesn’t have to be as large, so the motor can be lighter yet….in the end, the power train is so much smaller and cheaper that it more than pays for the carbon fiber body.
When you start super-insulating a house and adding intelligent, adaptive ventilation systems and passive solar design, it adds to the cost, until you get to the point where you don’t need a heating system any more. No furnace, no ducts, no pipes, and all that extra room where those things used to be…A house designed without a heating or cooling system is cheaper than a house with all that extra structure, and it has a zero fuel bill.
Lovins has applied the same principles to industrial design, manufacturing processes and distribution systems, radically decreasing energy use.
It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.— Edwin Land