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lilstevey (4628)

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Journal of lilstevey (4628)

Friday January 11, 2008
06:36 PM

Change and Power

[ #35371 ]
Regardless of your views on Global warming, energy is becoming a more expensive commodity - if you believe in the power of supply and demand, an expanding, more demanding global population should see to that.

I think therefore, that unless people have money to pass as liquid indirectly into a sewage processing system, energy conservation needs to be on everyones minds in the next few years.

The thing is, If I can make an observation, as a species we are lazy, easily distracted and quick to jump onto a bangwagon. Witness the sale of wind turbines in suburban areas, where chances are they are never going to provide a return on investment. Is it saving the planet, a way of dispersing guilt, or a status symbol?

Regardless of that, though, I think its fair to say that the argument that change is fairly inevitable. Personally, I'm dissapointed with the governments approach to nuclear power, as it seems pretty short sighted - and fails to address the true, inevitable issue of consumption. At the end of the day, these things seem to need to be both near the coast, and protected from erosion for many centuries. With predicted rising sea levels, building these extremely delicate devices this close to a known danger seems pretty reckless... Especially on an island where land changes hands at the level it does at the moment.

So rather than trying to subsidise supply with future income, why can't the other half of the equation be dealt with? A Solar panel may well not be able to power your refridgerator but it can charge your mobile phone - and lets not take cold maths to the economics of it in terms of power consumption to charge a phone - many, many people leave the chargers plugged in 24/7.

"Zero Carbon" sounds very cool, but it's more niche than mainstream, so whats wrong with aiming for low carbon? Look at the electrical devices in every room - how many are left on standby, and how many need to be - sure, your alarm clock, fridge, freezer, video recording are at least significantly more easy to be left on, but your TV, Hifi, Laptop? Why only one circuit per room ( /rooms ) - from a user perspective wouldn't it be easy to switch the green switch to send a room into power saving mode - that is leave the video on and turn the telly, chocolate fountain, and lava lamp off? And does a microwave need a clock - what on earth is that all about? - in some cases the damn things don't even work unless you set the effing time! Which idiot decided to try to make you keep a machine on for 24 hours that can cook your dinner in 3 minutes and 45 seconds?

I feel it worthwhile noting that it's not just some green crusade I'm on. As a "victim" of a prepayment meter the cost between standby and off is very very visible - going away for a week costs such a tiny fraction of being here - and I'm convinced a significant proportion of that is ate up by me not pulling the plug.

The point I'm trying to make is that we don't have to make a massive change in order to reduce our energy dependency. We just need to demand more thought, and sensible changes to legislation. Theres enough clever people out there to make a low power lifestyle convenient, after all, regardless of anyones beliefs on the future of our environment, using less should make sense to anyone?
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  • In New Scientist about 20 years ago I read a report from an engineer who wired up all his home equipment to measure energy expenditure, and found over a year that the standby mode (eg clock on microwave, status light on anything) consumed 50% of the yearly usage. Scary.
    • My power bills would suggest that this sort of figure can't be too far off. That would work out in the region of a cheap meal out per month if I got really vigilant about it and didn't mind setting the microwave clock on a daily basis. Some of my sockets aren't that easy to get to though :( :(