WNSF: 1,000 Cheeseburgers: A New Map of America’s Daily Energy Use with Saul Griffith

Every day the average American uses the same amount of energy that he or she would get from eating 1,000 cheeseburgers. That’s the equivalent of all Americans consuming 320 billion burgers worth of energy every 24 hours.

Saul Griffith, co-founder and CEO of Otherlab, presented for the first time an interactive wall-sized map detailing America’s daily energy use at the July gathering of What’s Now: San Francisco. Saul and his Otherlab team aggregated data from a wide range of obscure databases and created a dynamic visualization that shows the flow of energy through the entire American economy and society.

Here is the map now available to the public: http://energyliteracy.com

Saul gave an unprecedented guided tour through the American energy landscape—from supply-side solutions to demand-side efficiencies. No punches were pulled in re-examining the politics of energy data, and how traditional representations are as political as they are misleading. There is reason here for hope as this helps explain and demystify more pathways to a carbon-free United States energy economy. Whether you’re into energy, sustainability, or big data, this video is worth watching for an eye-opening look at the U.S., and the opportunities of this century.

Saul may be one of the most intriguing inventors in the Bay Area right now. He has founded or co-founded seven companies, delivered TED talks on everyday inventions and wind energy, received the coveted MacArthur “genius” award, and has been profiled in The New Yorker.

This event wasn’t all about Saul. Saul tapped into the brainpower of the innovators who gathered, including former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. Watch the extended interaction between Steven and Saul at the very end of the video.