Skip to content Skip to navigation

Energy As It Relates to the Quality and Style of Life

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Annual Review of Energy, p.3- (1978)



This paper is organized around three tasks: (a) to review the literature on the long- and short-term relationships between energy and the quality of life as measured by commonly used indicators such as health, economic well-being, crime and suicide statistics, and general satisfaction; (b) to discuss use of the term life-styles as a prelude to discussing the relation between energy, life-styles, and social organization; and (c) to comment on how such understanding is relevant to the development of energy policies that originate from a user rather than a producer perspective and that are concerned with the purposes for which energy is used to improve the human condition.^The first and clearest implication of the research reviewed is that there is no evidence that increasing energy use will increase the quality of American life.^Both the global and the restricted perspectives show unambiguously that energy consumption and quality of life vary with substantial indpendence, particularly in the so-called ``industrial world.`` Similarly, energy policy grounded in fear of deleterious change in life-styles and options must be informed by a realization of the very wide range of choice of life-styles that is available in any plausible energy future.^Further, it is commonplace that individuals are able to change their life-styles with or without a change in energy policy or even a change in level of energy use.