Redirection of our clinical attention from the pressures and volumes of the individual cycle to the broader and more inclusive considerations of energy load and power has untapped potential to reduce iatrogenic risk from ventilation (ie, ventilator-induced lung injury). Power is the product of breathing frequency and inflation energy per breath. Yet, while feasible to calculate at the bedside, measuring total power may not prove to be precise enough for accurate prediction of ventilator-induced lung injury, even if normalized to lung capacity (ie, specific power). The same power value can be reached by a multitude of frequency and tidal volume combinations, not all of which carry equal risk of damage. If some arbitrary level of alveolar pressure were accepted as a sharply defined hazard boundary, a rather straightforward geometric analysis theoretically would allow partitioning of overall tidal energy into components above and below a damage threshold. In this discussion, we introduce the concept of quantitative power partitioning and illustrate how tidal energy and power might be deconstructed into their key parts.