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Powering Down: Q&A with Saul Griffith…

Forget about a new gym membership or diet. The most important New Year’s resolution for 2009 may be slimming down your energy footprint. Saul Griffith, a MacArthur genius grant winner and president of Makani Power, believes that a mass movement is necessary to avert catastrophic climate change. To that end, he and his colleagues created WattzOn, a personal calculator that allows users to track energy consumption down to the last apple they eat. In addition to calculating things like travel, WattzOn also factors in less obvious contributors to our energy footprint like our possessions, food consumption and government activities on our behalf. This can bring some surprises: Griffith, who bikes to work, assumed he had a small energy footprint until WattzOn showed him he was “a planet f***er.” In This Q&A, he explains why we should scrutinize our power consumption and how this can improve our health and quality of life—even without that gym membership or fad diet.