Energy units – muddle in the making?

It was decided early in the 1990s that the unit for pricing of domestic gas should change from the therm to the kilowatt hour, which is a metric unit but not SI. We ask if this made ‘metric sense’.
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Smart meters, or not?

Readers may have seen a recent TV programme that was highly critical of the energy smart meter “roll out”. Some of you may now be wondering why a nation that made a mess of the simple task of adopting a modern measurement system is now embarking on a complex and expensive technology project of questionable value.

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The curse of conversion factors

In this article, Ronnie Cohen looks at lists of plausible conversions in both directions between imperial units still in use in the UK and metric units.

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Cabinet Office gets its kilowatts in a twist

Visitors to the Cabinet Office website will see that this branch of the Government is measuring its energy use in “kilowatt-hours per hour”.  It is a sad reflection on the quality of civil service support given to this crucial part of the Government machine that such an incongruous and scientifically illiterate measure should be published.

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Two enduring controversies are highlighted by a food labelling consultation

A recent consultation by the UK Department of Health about food labelling has drawn attention to two long-standing issues, both relating to food energy and the calorie.

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Prospects improve for food energy labelling using SI units

One of our readers wrote to Sainsbury’s to ask that guideline daily amounts (GDAs) of energy shown on packaging should be shown in kilojoules, the SI unit, as well as or instead of kilocalories. He has received a reply that provides cause for optimism.

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How should we measure energy (and power)?

The recent consultation on so-called “calories” on menus, together with the launch of more new models of electric cars has prompted these thoughts on the dysfunctional way in which we measure energy and power. This muddle reflects a lack of understanding of basic science and prevents people from making useful comparisons. We should standardise on the joule (J) and the watt (W).

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