A bonusjoules is a measure of energy efficiency. It is the complementary twin element of junkjoules. A bonusjoule tends to be generated when a use of energy is primarly driven by long-term, low- risk considerations. A junkjoule tends to be generated when a use of energy is primarily driven by short-term, high-risk considerations.
A bonusjoule is derived from the concept of a negawatt and is produced by the same activities as provided in the negawatt definition.
The concept was developed in 2000 by a New Zealander, Dave McArthur. He was employed by an energy efficiency firm, Negawatt Resources Ltd (NRL), to develop energy efficiency and climate education resources and to install products. He noted many customers expressed considerable confusion about negawatts. In particular, they could not understand why increasing energy efficiency should have a negative impact as is implied in ‘nega’. Many misheard or misread it as megawatts.
The counterproductive nature of the negawatt symbol is easily illustrated by asking the simple question, “What is the opposite to a negawatt?” The use of the antonym symbol posiwatt to describe a wasteful use of a resource only makes sense in terms of contemporary economics where measures such as GNP and GDP are inflated by waste and disasters. Inefficient uses of energy degrades our real sources of wealth. These reside in our social and environmental resources. The concept of a posiwatt makes no sense in this context.
Key products of NRL are building insulation, photovoltaic panels and solar water heating systems while the focus of the education resources was the enhancement of use of thermal barriers and solar resources to improve energy efficiency. The dominant association in the public mind of the Watts symbol is with Bulk-electricity. In a culture dominated by the Bulk-electricity sector this use of the Watts symbol works to direct people’s focus on to central grid sourced electricity and away from solar resources, insulation and other options.
The symbol bonusjoules is constructed to generate positive associations with energy efficiency. A Joule is a measure of energy that has more universal associations in the public mind as it is a common measure of food, drink, physiology, clothing, solar resources, transport fuels, etc. Check out joule under joules mages in a websearch
The negawatts symbol may well contain even more fatal flaws. For instance, it is a time constrained concept and fails to link to the impact of the reinvestment of profits made from negawatt trades.These flaws became evident with the crises and near failure of the Californian Bulk-electricity system in 2000- 2001 when the sector’s corporations manipulated supply and demand to gain negawatt credits. The flaws became further apparent with the collapses of Enron in the USA, OnEnergy in New Zealand and their consultant in common, Arthur Andersen and Co .
In 2001 Dave created a cartoon strip Bonus Joules and the Knowledge Economy to explore the nature of energy. The concept of bonusjoules is represented in the strip by a cartoon character, Bonus Joules. Its shape is designed to characterise openness, honesty, inclusiveness, generosity, humility and the best attributes of science. The author set the character forth on a journey exploring contemporary images of energy. Within three chapters it became apparent that a presence always accompanied Bonus Joules. The presence was characterised by arrogance, exclusiveness, dishonesty amorality, greed and domination, such as found in the worst of the Public Relations industry and the banking fraternity. These qualities became manifest in the lines of the cartoon character named Junk Joules.
These two cartoon characters coexisted from then on, engaging in active debate about any use of energy explored. On one occasion Junk Joules embraced Bonus Joules and the two shapes merged to form the unforeseen Yin and Yang symbol. This symbol is based on ancient Chinese insights into how we can maintain balanced relationships with the primary driver of Earth’s energy system, our sun. Some accounts suggest the symbol was suggested when the shadow cast by a stick in the ground was recorded for a full year.
With the emergence of this symbol in the cartoon came the realisation that energy efficiency measurement is a constantly evolving process and must be constantly re-evaluated with every use of energy as perceptions of energy flows and technology change. The concepts of bonusjoules and junk joules are complementary elements of energy efficiency measurement and constantly evolve into each other. An act that can be seen to generate bonusjoules in one moment can be seen to generate junkjoules in the next.
Two further considerations drove the development of of the concepts of bonusjoules and junkjoules.
Modern economics fails to value energy uses if they are not taxable and tradeable. Many energy efficiency measures work to reduce contemporary measures of economic health such as GNP and GDP. These economic measures contain few effective mechanisms for including social and environmental indices. Sustainable Economics requires symbols that are inclusive of these. The bonus symbol is widely associated in Economics with positive performance and good activity. The junk symbol is associated with short term, high risk activities and negative performance in the popular mind. The two interdependent symbols bonusjoules-junkjoules are an attempt to provide tools for students of Economics to study energy efficiency.
On a wider level, bonus (origin Latin: good) is associated with welcome outcomes while junk is associated with waste. These are simple relative associations that are clearly understood by students from level one (new entrant- 5 years olds).
The second consideration is that there is an assumption inherent in the concept of negawatts that the profits from investment in energy efficiency will be used for further energy efficiency investment and that that The Market can be relied on to produce positive outcomes from trades.
The co-evolving nature of bonusjoules–junkjoules places focus on individual responsibility for choices and actions. A fundamental principle underpinning this energy efficiency practice is derived from Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. It suggests that we can never truly know when we are generating bonusjoules and when we are producing junkjoules. We are part of a flux of energy in which energy forms continually change. Constant evaluation is essential and requires the use of the scientific skills inherent in every person if human behaviour is to be adaptive. The complete circle is formed when the yin and the yang are in balance. The circle is symbolic of the harmonious situation derived when humans are operating with compassion and tolerance for themselves, for others and for the environment. Compassion enables each person to accept change and acknowledge that an act that generates bonus joules in one moment has become one that generates junk joules in the next.
The bonusjoules-junk joules concept is not based on the symbol Energy Conservation. This symbol generates a very restrictive definition of energy efficiency. This occurs because it based on a very narrow commercial definition of energy. This states “energy is used in economics to describe the part of the market where energy itself is harnessed and sold to consumers.” and it thus pre-empts most potential uses of energy. It limits energy uses to those that can be traded and taxed.
This is the dominant use of the energy symbol in Western media and the so called “energy industry”. Restrictions also occur because this use of the symbol contains the impossible notion that humans can conserve energy. This in direct contradiction of the Conservation Principle. It also obscures the vital concept that energy is constantly transformed. We can only conserve energy forms.
Energy efficiency as measured using the bonusjoules-junkjoules construct is based on the the Conservation Principle and the First Law of Thermodynamics. These have as their premise the notion that energy is, by its nature, conserved.
Symbols such as sustainable energy, green energy, energy crisis. energy saving, energy wasteful and renewable energy are unhelpful, if not impossible in this context. Inherent in them is the implication that humans can alter the nature of energy and generate perpetuum mobile Such symbols are also very vulnerable to manipulation by commercial sector groups who wish to colonise and engineer energy symbols for their own short-term fiscal interests.
Energy efficiency is a measure of behaviour and the focus is on relative uses of energy and sustainability in the bonusjoules-junkjoules construct. Energy is neither good nor bad; neither green nor ungreen; neither renewable or non-renewable; and is bounteous in nature. Energy use crises can exist but not energy crises. We perceive some forms of energy to be more useful than others at any point in time and our concepts of entropy or non-useful forms of energy are constrained by our position in our universe(s).
The Conservation Principle states energy is constantly transformed. It is our stewardship of energy forms and sources of energy that is the issue. More helpful symbols include;
sustainable uses of energy,