One Billion Machines

Decarbonization, demystified

Drawings by Saul Griffith.
Impossible to read, but here’s a look at a Sankey diagram of our entire energy flow in the US. Once we understand our energy needs, we can supply them with clean energy — and save over half the primary energy because we don’t have the wasted energy in mining, refining, transporting and burning fossil fuels.
All the machines from the supply side to the demand side. We’re used to looking at energy from the supply side, but really when we look at the demand side, what we need to power in our lives, we find that we don’t need as much primary energy as we think we do because of all the energy wasted in finding, digging, refining, transporting, and burning fossil fuels.

Where does our energy go? The sectors

Waste is bad (fossil fuels have a lot of waste in finding, mining, refining, distributing, and burning energy). Efficiency is good (renewable energy is far more efficient than fossil fuels).

Where does our fossil-fuel energy come from? (supply-side)


If we covered our rail tracks and their right-of-ways with industrial solar, we would produce more energy than the coal that these railways currently deliver.


(Not-very-natural) Gas

Where does our fossil-fuel energy go? (demand)

Road vehicles

Household appliances (demand)

Space Heating

Water heating

Cooking machines

There are great electric alternatives for all cooking machines.

Clothes machines

Not to mention…

That’s a lot of blue flames.

To get rid of them, we’ll need new household infrastructure

Saving households money

War-time effort

Founder / Principal Scientist at Otherlab, an energy R&D lab, and co-founder/Principal Scientist at Rewiring America, a coalition to electrify everything.