Images Credit: Lloyd Alter
Jevons Paradox would suggest that as energy efficiency increases, then people will respond by using more of it. It is a controversial issue in a world where people are working hard to increase efficiency so that we will use less of it. It even hit the New Yorker recently, with David Owen's article The Efficiency Dilemma.
I personally was skeptical (and wrote so in Jevons Paradox and Energy Efficiency) but have changed my mind since I saw IKEA's model kitchen at the Interior Design Show. They demonstrated their commitment to energy efficient lighting by hanging about a hundred CFL fixtures in it.
Image credit: DesignBliss
Assuming that they are standard 13 watt CFLs, that is about 1300 watts, or the equivalent of 26 halogen 50 watt spots that would put out enough light to do pettipoint. It is a lovely ceiling and looked terrific, but just the fact that anyone would think about doing this proves that William Stanley Jevons was right- give designers a more efficient lightbulb and they will use more of them. It works for IKEA; they sell a lot more fixtures and a lot more paper shades that have to be replaced every few years because they cannot be cleaned (this is a kitchen) and are cheap enough that you don't need to bother cleaning them, just replace them. So much for efficiency.