The research of the Energy Research Group (ERG) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign through the 1970s and early 1980s has recurring bouts of popularity. That research traced the flow of various energy types from nature to the final product or service, using modified economic input-output analysis. That information allowed for a comparison of alternative uses of products and services that delivered the same demand. The goal of the study was to identify the energy-conserving potential of the alternatives. Interest in that research has risen and fallen with the price of energy through three cycles now, with the current interest also encompassing materials conservation. Although the specific numerical results of this work are dated, the process by which the analysis was conducted creates, at least, a suggestion for future analysis in the arena of materials research. A review of the ERG history, including techniques pioneered for investigating the potential for energy conservation and some of the ancillary lessons learned along the way, may be of some use to those working on issues of materials conservation today. In the coming years, the most relevant research will include assessment of the socio-economic-ecological impact of technological materials conservation policies.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences|
|State||Published - Mar 13 2013|
- Energy Research Group
- Socio-economic-ecological impact
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)