We all know that when we flip a light switch on the wall, illuminating a lamp on the ceiling as if by magic, it's not magic. There's a long and extremely complex series of events that makes that little action possible, and, for many of us across the country, it begins in a coal fired power plant.

If you're one of the millions of Americans whose home is powered by coal, you may have wondered: just how much coal does it take to supply electricity to my house? 

Our friends over at EnergySavvy have a great new infographic that explains how much coal it takes to provide air conditioning to an average home in the Southeastern U.S., compared to the amount of coal required to cool that same home with a more energy efficient air conditioning system; and then to cool that same home after it's been given a home performance upgrade (which includes adding insulation, air sealing, duct sealing, and other low cost measures).

The difference is pretty drastic. Check out the infographic, and share it with your friends if so inclined:

how big is your pile of coal

As you ponder the above figures, remember that there are other ways to keep your home cool in the summer besides just cranking the AC.

Also, be sure to check out EnergySavvy's original article, "How Big is Your Pile of Coal?"