Could you power your house with the energy that’s created from pedaling a bicycle? First, let’s find out how much energy a house uses and how much energy one bicycling person can store in a battery.

Skunk Bear‘s Adam Cole visits astrophysics professor and NPR blogger Adam Frank in Rochester, New York, former bicycle capital of America, to assess the situation. NPR has more:

“…the discovery of fossil fuels did something amazing. If we look at our house example, we see that the energy running into our homes from some distant power stations is the equivalent to having about 40 people pedaling bicycles for us. Those little sockets in the wall that we plug our stuff into give us the power of 40 servants. (If I included the electrical inefficiencies, that number goes up to about 50 servants.)

We are all, literally, living like kings.

But, as we know, using that much energy has consequences for the planet in the form of climate change. The trick now is to figure how to keep a reasonable level of power available to everyone by using energy sources that have less planetary blowback.”

Possible solutions: Fourth graders create a solar powered classroom, and Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba story.

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