Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level





Boss, Steve

Committee Member/Reader

Dumond, Gregory

Committee Member/Second Reader

Herold, Warren

Committee Member/Third Reader

Churchill, Hugh


The Demotechnic Index (DI) is a non-dimensional metric that is the scalar multiple of energy consumption over and above that required for mere subsistence of a national population. Thus, the DI is a measure of energy efficiency that scales a country’s industrial energy consumption (called the total technological energy) and the energy required to meet the metabolic demand of the population (called the total metabolic energy). The DI was created by scientist John Vallentyne in 1982, refined in 1994, but never gained popularity or wide use as a sustainability metric. The objective of this thesis was to re-evaluate the DI as a metric of national energy use and determine the trajectory of the DI for United Nations-member states over the last four decades (1980-2018). Tracking the DI of nations over time shows that the DI is sensitive to economic, social, and political events and has utility in telling stories about the past, and how world and regional events shaped the world we live in today. The multidecadal record of national DIs is a complex record documenting the evolution of total energy consumption, the interplay of different energy sources over time, interactions between humans and the environment, the impacts of economics, conflict, and social upheaval, and our energy choices on the well-being of nations and their people. The Demotechnic Index illustrates this all and thus, seems worthy of greater investigation that may yield insights to be intelligently considered and used to strategize future human progress.


Demotechnic, Population, Sustainability, Energy, Fossil Fuels, Consumption