ruminations about architecture and design

Friday, May 9, 2014

elephants vs. mice

A house I designed was assigned a HERS score of 55, which is a good thing. It would be a better thing if the house was much smaller and had a slightly higher score (a lower HERS score indicates less energy consumption per unit of area). Someday, if we ever get to the point where we have unlimited supplies of solar energy, it won't matter that much.

On the subject of energy, there's this stuff:

The New Yorker magazine had an article about the company that is making and promoting this. Since I use supplements I can understand the convenience of high quality processed foods, but I do not think that this will catch on. Humans like food for reasons other than nourishment, and people who deprive themselves of the tactile and social pleasures of eating for the sake of higher productivity have obviously not read their Douglas Adams.

What the New Yorker article failed to address was the EROI (energy return on energy invested) of Soylent vs.other foods. The mass production and transportation of the constituent parts of the product involve major supply chains. I am aware that the 4000 calories I eat each day requires more than 4000 calories of fossil fuels to bring to my belly, and I know that this situation could unravel in the near future. Does Soylent beat out the EROI of a subsistence farmer? Certainly not. Does it beat out the eggs I usually have for breakfast?

I watched Soylent Green in a high school science class. I found it quite disturbing, but I do appreciate the humor this modern company is going after.

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