How often have you said you feel full of energy … or that you don’t have the energy to complete another task, walk that last mile, or just stay awake? We don’t always connect that kind of energy with the kind that comes out of the ground or from other natural resources on our planet, but it turns out that human energy can be quantified in the same way that we measure the energy used to light our homes or power our cars.

In fact, on a typical day the average person expends an amount of energy equal to 868,500 matches, or a single 100-watt light bulb, lit continuously for 106 days. As we count down to Energy Day 2011 on October 15, we hope statistics like those – from the U.S. Energy Information Administration — will reignite our curiosity in energy and get children engaged as well.

Thanks to EIA’s handy calculator, we can actually convert human energy consumption into all sorts of fuel sources. In a given day, a typical person expends an amount of energy day equivalent to about 845 cubic feet of natural gas. A barrel of crude oil will last you a little more than six days.

It is fun facts like these that will be showcased next Saturday in downtown Houston during Houston’s first-annual Energy Day festival.  Houston is helping to lead the nation into our energy future – making the discoveries today that power our lives far into the future.

Energy Day is about meeting the challenge of learning ways to quantify the power of the sun and the wind and all natural resources and harnessing them efficiently. Clearly, their untapped power is often infinite, but for every ray of sunshine that lands on a solar grid and is used for home heating, many more land on the ground and dissipate, nourishing our planet in all sorts of ways that can’t be quickly measured with an online calculator.

Indeed, one of the challenges of finding and efficiently tapping the energy of our future will lie in better understanding the value of all of our varied natural resources. Sometimes, the answers will be rooted in common sense and sometimes they will involve complex calculations.  Energy Day will showcase these questions and provide exciting, interactive learning opportunities for children of all ages.

While we certainly don’t know all the energy-related questions we will face in the future, we know that finding the best answers to all the questions of today and tomorrow will depend on stimulating our children’s curiosity today. And also, in reminding them that, just like the oil in the ground and the sun in the sky, they are a valuable natural resource.    The good news is that Houston – the Energy Capital – is leading the way.