Read More: TreeHugger
Years ago, before there was Amazon Prime, TreeHugger concluded that online shopping used less energy than driving to the mall. Now a new study, Changes in Time Use and Their Effect on Energy Consumption in the United States, concludes that many of the technological changes of the last 15 years, from online shopping to Netflix, are contributing to Americans using less energy than they used to. This research tracks lifestyle changes in the United States through changes in times spent on different activities and measures the associated energy effects. We find that Americans are spending more time at home and correspondingly less time traveling and in offices and stores. We find that more time at home implies lower energy consumption due to reduced automobile travel and energy use in non-residential buildings. The amount of energy saved is not insignificant, 1,700 trillion BTU in 2012, 1.8% of the national total. Americans are also apparently spending 8 more days lolling in front of the big screen at home. They are working at home more, sleeping in and eating and drinking at home. They are reading for personal interest a lot less. Unfortunately, the study doesn't track how much time people are spending on exercise but it doesn't appear that Americans are getting out much any more.