Benjamin Franklin's Energy Efficiency

Founding father, inventor and practical philosopher, Benjamin Franklin is remembered for his lightning and key experiment where he proved that lightning is a form of electricity, and survived to tell the tale. He is an American original, and the inventor of the one of the earliest energy efficiency devices - The Pennsylvania fireplace. Franklin's fireplace was built with an open front that could be positioned to focus heat on specific parts of a room rather than the less efficient heating of an entire room by an open fireplace. The Pennsylvania fireplace is still used today.

Franklin was a pioneer in the understanding of electricity. He popularized the idea that it was a "single" force rather than the flow of two opposing forces. He developed a language for describing electricity, its tools and behaviors, originating the terms "charge," "battery," "conductor," "condensor," "armature," "positive" and "negative" current.

Franklin is well-known for his pithy quotes from his pamphlet, Poor Richard's Almanack. They speak of thrift, introspection, calm deliberation, and apply definitively to today's energy efficiency debate. His quotes from the Almanack should be taken as good advice for today's energy planner.

     "When the well is dry we know the worth of water."

     "A penny saved is a penny earned"

     "Who is rich? He that rejoices in his portion."

Energy efficiency, energy-saving, these concepts are as old as the republic. Today, over 250 years since Franklin's kite experiment, we would do well to go back to these traditional roots of our nation. Moderation, using only as much as is needed, appreciation of the value of resources, these are all ideas which should never go out of style, and can save us from our self-made energy crisis.

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I am a Seattle-based writer. Energy efficiency and the achievement of human potential are my goals. I have worked as a legislative aide and a database manager, and recently started building a money- and energy-saving household goods online store featuring sensible and affordable home environment solutions including ENERGY STAR qualified products. Contact: Twitter: @Greenbespoke @SaveWattsatHome