ENERGY UNBOUND: A Fable for America's Future by L. Hunter; Amory B. Lovins & Seth Zuckerman Lovins

ENERGY UNBOUND: A Fable for America's Future

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Reading this is like being spoon-fed cod-liver oil: it may be healthy, but it makes you choke. Ten years ago, physicist Amory Lovins redefined the energy debate with his notion of ""end users."" While everyone else was asking where more energy could be found, he asked exactly what kinds of energy are needed, and what are the cheapest, most efficient ways to get them? This new book is based on the same sensible end-use and market-oriented philosophy. It is also full of useful advice on the proper role of government in the energy field, on ways solar energy can be tapped inexpensively, and on what kinds of energy efficiency improvements can be made in the industrial, commercial, transportation, and residential sectors of the economy. For example, according to the authors, making household appliances (especially refrigerators) more efficient could cut electric bills 75% and displace dozens of new power plants nationwide. Unfortunately, the information is couched in a puerile fable about one Eunice Bunnyhut, ""an ordinary Midwestern housewife"" who becomes Secretary of Energy when the President decides energy policy needs a good dose of common sense. She is an irritating character who, until the last chapter, is totally befuddled by energy bureaucrats and is constantly furrowing her brow in confusion or despair. Bunnyhut is tutored by a Yuppie alternative-energy expert (for some serendipitous reason still extant at the Energy Department) who spends a good deal of his time brewing exotic coffee and introducing his boss to Washington's chic eateries. Policymakers, homeowners and business people would have been better served with a less precious approach, and all would have gotten more of their money's worth out of a book on how to dramatically decrease their energy bills. Too bad that the authors, who could have provided it, chose to get cute.

Pub Date: April 11th, 1986
Publisher: Sierra Club--dist. by Random House