back to article People have no bloody idea about saving energy

People who make an effort to be eco-friendly - for instance by recycling glass bottles, turning off lights and unplugging cellphone chargers - have no idea what they're on about, according to a new survey. Those who don't bother are more likely to know what actually saves energy and what doesn't. This revelation comes in a new …

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And instead of Or perhaps?

Rather than changing the washer sessions instead of choosing to line-dry over tumble-dry, why not change the washer setting AND choose to line-dry?

Similarly, why not turn out more lamps AND turn the heating down a couple of degress whiles dressing warmer?

i.e. do these things have to be exclusive?

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Reuse?

I still get milk delivered in glass bottles which the milkman dutifully collects for reuse (It took me a long time to convince my wife not to put the dirty milk bottles through the dishwasher as they will just be taken to the depo and washed there... seemed a bit wasteful and that the milkman didn't mind if the bottles weren't spotless...).

As a kid in the 70's I used to collect glass bottles and return them for a small deposit. Why don't we start doing that again?

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WTF?

So.

1. turning lights off when you are not using them doesn't save much power (start up costs of fluorescents not withstanding) but turning the heating down does.

2. Line drying rather than tumble drying saves some power but not as much as cool washing compared to hot wash. (I'm not even convinced that is true).

Is this article suggesting that there is some kind of weird physics going on where small amounts of energy become zero when talked about in the same sentence as larger amounts? has it suddenly become true that not doing everything eco, green, carbon neutral and landfill friendly is the same as doing nothing?

All I can think is that this by the same 'scientists' who used to say 'actually all these "smoking is bad for you" campaigners HAVE NO BLOODY IDEA'?

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not zero

just significntley close to zero

but what the article is saying to my eyes is that you need to THINK before you clame to be saving energy as to weather you are doing your savign the best way

somone who line drys there cloths and then unplugs all there phone chargers (form personal testing <0.1 watt) and then drives 1 mile in a 4x4 to pick there kids up from school maby needs to rethink there proitioys an d maby needs to evanglise less

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Happy

Knowledge vs Desire

regarding those who "care" being less able.

Perhaps its because (huge generalisation alert) the Green types are often the sort of hippy-lovey-fluffy-kitten class of person who tends to avoid subjects such as science/maths (chemistry/biology/physics) etc that give you the raw mental materials to work out or understand these types of issue. They instead do life skills, media studies and music.

Meanwhile those of us who know about KW of electricity and efficiency (or photosynthesis that uses that toxin know as Co2) etc are too busy building racing cars and super computers (+ the odd death ray).

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Pirate

Nah

The two are not mutually exclusive. I'm currently involved in the building of three racing cars, several supercomputers, an uprated and improved wind turbine control system, a rain-water recovery system, and possible a solar panel system to tie into the existing wind turbine, I'm undecided about that last one so far.

They're all engineering problems with various different challenges to overcome. Some benefit the human race ("Save the planet!" "The best thing we can do to help the planet now is to burn all the fossil fuels and thus wipe out the Human race. How about we save the Human race instead?"), some are just fun projects that keep me happy and, if not sane, then in a stable state of mild insanity.

GJC

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That old chesnut.

Angling for a job at the daily mail by any chance? This article is typical of the "one thing you said is wrong so everything you say is worthless" argument that's often utilised by the anti-pc/eco/liberal/tofu brigade.

Just because recycling glass has a more negative impact than using cans doesn't mean all recycling is bollocks. You are aware metals can also be recycled, yes? And just because switching off appliances on standby doesn't save that much energy doesn't mean it isn't still worth doing, it's a truly lazy bastard who classes crossing their living room to switch off the T.V as anything but a minor inconvenience.

The original source simply states that people's perceptions are wrong, so perhaps the grown up thing to do would have been suggesting better education rather than just using it as an excuse to tell eco-minded people to get fucked.

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Boffin

pfft if you cared that much

you wouldn't iron your clothes.

When I say that one to weekend eco-warriors they get all defensive.

here's Al Gore's low carbon office

http://www.algore04.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/05/messy-office.jpg

4 giant monitors and a laser printer under the desk, go Al

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FAIL

Reusing glass

When Milk Bottles were regularly reused, they were delivered to your door on electric/battery milk floats, and collected in the same way ... all to a dairy within 10-15 miles from you. the milk was delivered to the dairy in large milk tankers the same size as petrol delivery trucks (actually - identical trucks, and they are still used) ...

It's not the energy cost of bottle re-use that ended that tradition - its the cost of employing the "milk men"

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Yes - but that's only one model

Doorstep delivery is not part and parcel of reuse - you can take bottles back to the shop instead.

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title nazi????

Qoute

"I dont trust these detergents that say they wash clean at 30 degrees - if thats the case why does Ariel detergent now sell alongside a range of boosters and stain removers that Ariel has been telling us for the last 30 years that we dont need?"

I am afraid its the 'free market' where you are still able to buy a gas-guzzling 'hummer' at the same time as an electric smart car...

so yes, you can buy your ancient ariel that mom likes, or the new type that will do your wash at 15 degrees... the only reason they are being sold, is that people buy them.... go ahead, it will only take couple of quid to do your own 'cleaning test'... wot price to lose your preconceptions????

and if you are pedantic enough to cout out the grains of powder, you only have yoursel to blame.. I prefer to not get a mess in the w/mc tray, as well as elsewhere, so use the 'liquitabs' so I just chuck in the washing, put in the tab, job done, no mess, no energy wasted cleaning up spills....

and as for the pedantic people trying to say that line drying uses energy... the only way I can see that, is that english weather may need you to take the 'rained on' wet clothes and put them in the dryer... :( :(

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Anonymous Coward

It's All A Big Con!

Call me a cynic but as a committed tree hugger the argument has been hijacked by the corporates / 'guvmint' in thrall of corporate lobbyists. They're spreading misinformation and fallacy. As long as they can con people into believing the green hype and buying their 'eco friendly' products they're happy - CFLs / car scrappage / exhortations to replace old kit with better energy-rated appliances are all symptoms of the same thing. The embodied energy in most cases means you have to wait years for new kit to start having a beneficial effect. We should be reducing (eg all that plastic food packaging) and reusing (how about those glass bottles from the milkman?), recycling in a lot of cases (eg glass) is pointless, except that it provides cheap raw materials and 'eco-credentials' to perpetuate the con. Problem is there a very few ways to make 'reduce and reuse' turn a profit so we're stuck with 'consume stuff you don't need but that feeds the ego and buy-in to the recycling con'

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Silver badge

Energy rated appliances, light bulbs etc

My energy saving efforts are basically about saving money. Therefore I purchase an A or A+ rated appliances on the basis that they often cost no more and frequently use a fraction of the power of a B or C rated device.

My house has something like 30 spotlight sockets for GU10 halogen bulbs. At 50W a piece, I would be burning 1500W if I turned them all on. These days you can buy 2W LED warm light bulbs which provide virtually indistinguishable light for 1/25th power. So instead of 1500W, I would only be using 60W if I turned them all on. The LED bulbs cost more but then again they pay for themselves rapidly and last longer too so have less risk of breaking limbs or necks trying to replace them.

I still reckon I use too much power. I'm into gaming & PCs so I'm too lazy to power them down even when they could be. I think I probably pay €20-40 more per month than I would if were to strictly put things into sleep / standby when they're not in use.

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WTF?

Interesting ideas, but unfortunately half-truths.

"My energy saving efforts are basically about saving money. Therefore I purchase an A or A+ rated appliances on the basis that they often cost no more and frequently use a fraction of the power of a B or C rated device."

You are missing the point: Some people use _their old appliances_ as long as they last and don't buy new ones, thus saving ten to thousandfold the money you "save" by buying newest new.

The energy consumption of most appliances is often the smallest cost, investment and cost of ownership are much bigger costs.

"So instead of 1500W, I would only be using 60W if I turned them all on."

If you heat your house (like most people do), you'll consume exactly same amount of energy, ie. 1500W. It doesn't matter at all if you are taking the heat from lamps or from the electric heater. Only difference is that electric heater doesn't give you light. Of course, 1500W isn't heating a house, more like 6500 watts or more.

In summertime you don't need heating but not much lights either, so situation is essentially the same.

"The LED bulbs cost more but then again they pay for themselves rapidly "

They cost more and give very dim light, like candles and no, they won't pay themselves back, ever. Unless you live in a climate where heating is unnecessary at least 10 months of a year.

If you really replace a 20W halogen with a 2W led (with 10-fold price), you get maybe 10% of the lumens you had earlier, no wonder the energy consumption drops when you drop 90% of the intensity: You could achieve the same with adjustable halogens, at almost zero cost.

LEDs also have a nasty habit to dim by themselves: A year old LED is very good if it has 80% of the original intensity. Two years and 50%. Something that the fanatic supporters (=salesmen) of LEDs won't tell you.

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Boffin

@AC 22:47 GMT

I've taken the trouble to do a bit of research because clearly you haven't.

The lumens per watt for a Quartz halogen is typically 24, whereas high intensity LEDs are >45 lm/W. So obviously if you replace a 20W halogen with a 2W LED it's going to be dimmer because you'll be replacing 480 lumens with 90 lumens. To get the same lumens you'd replace the 20W halogen with about 10W of LED.

The cost isn't 10-fold. In the long-term (and LEDs do last for the long term without significant dimming) you'd get a payback. This is similar to the short-term/long-term cost comparisons between Incandescent and Compact Fluorescent - upfront cost versus long term savings. Like the previous contributor mentioned you also save time & hassle in replacing halogens.

As for replacing inefficient fridges, I replaced my 20 year fridge which I found was using >700kWH per year with an A+ rated using <150kWH/year. It paid for itself in less than 3 years. I was waiting for the old fridge to die but then decided to make some measurements and replaced it pronto. The energy consumption of most appliances is often the LARGEST cost in TCO not the smallest.

And as for the crap about using incandescent lighting to heat your house: I live in the UK and don't heat my house all year so the heat given off by lights would be wasted for 8 months per year. Lighting requirements in winter aren't a lot different from other times, I sleep through most of the hours of darkness. Incidentally, in winter my space and water heating is provided by a wood burning stove so heat from electric lights would probably save me a couple of logs per winter which wouldn't save me any money (I haven't yet needed to pay for wood). Also, not all domestic lighting is indoors, and where air con is used the heat from lights would be a double waste.

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Linux

Lies, statistics and surveys...

The bit about glass bottles struck me as curious because I was always under the impression that glass bottles were not "recycled' but actually reused. It was my understanding that in the old days when glass bottle return was the thing, they just cleaned the old bottles out.

No "re-manufacturing" was done.

Re-use versus re-cycling is not a distinction to be taken lightly.

Pollution is also something to consider as opposed to just energy.

Although Green partisans tend to be most vocal about chasing away anyone with an actual clue (or heaven forbid an actual environmental engineering degree).

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FAIL

I don't have a tumble drier

How will reducing the temprature on my washer help with drying. Obviously I don't use any electricity to dry my clothes on the line, so if I lower the temp on the washer, will I get energy back?

I'm also fairly sure that turning my PC off for a day will save more power than using a clothes drier, but neither will dry my clothes.

I resent being told that I know nothing because I recycle my glass. I KNOW it takes as much energy to melt and reform the stuff (but I suspect less than the combined resources used in sourcing and shipping the raw materials before hand) but I recycle because there are some products that I can't buy in aluminium cans and I'm concerned about landfill space as well as energy usage.

My house isn't centrally heated, we have to use sweaters and extra blankets in the winter, so if I'm not using air con or heating, turning off lights and appliances on standby WILL HELP. If my telly uses 1 watt/ hour on standby (which as it's old it doesn't, but I DO switch it off properly) and I have it turned off fully all the time I'm asleep or at work, that's a good 15 hours or so that I'm saving. Okay, so that's 15 Watts per day, but if a thousand people did that, it's 15KW saved and over a year, that's just under 550KW a year. If everyone did that for their monitors, tellys and stereos, that would save a hell of a lot over time.

It's all about the small things adding up and not about "I know more about being environmentally friendly than you" willy waving. Especially when said willy waving is skewed to avoid half of the equation.

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Gold badge
FAIL

Energy Saving Trust

"And ignore the many worthy public organisations - for instance the Energy Saving Trust ..."

You what? Worthy?

They convinced my dad to "upgrade" to a combi boiler. Now he has to run several L of water to waste each time he wants hot water. Sometimes that water starts off hot when the tap is first opened, but cannot really be used because the water then goes cold while the combi decides to fire-up after an unbelievable delay. What is the energy cost of treating that water and heating the water that is lost?

Then in addition he was unable to install solar water heating because he has a combi boiler.

I don't even want to think about how much energy was used to manufacture the new boiler in the first place when the old one was fine, or think about how often the latest boilers need to be replaced compared to the older ones. He was told that the energy savings will make the boiler pay for itself in 15 years, but that assumes that it lasts 15 years (only has 2 year warrantee), and that the credit to pay for the boiler had 0% interest.

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FAIL

reminds me of a friend

Buddy of mine was persuaded to spend a load of money to change out all of the light bulbs in his house to CFL's. He then told me that he was saving "so much money" with those bulbs. So I asked him: can you tell on your electric bill???? He couldn't see a difference. Bwhahahahahahahahaha sucker.

The truth is that lighting makes up a small portion of the overall electric budget for the house. Would be much better to turn the air conditioning up a degree, or to unplug the second fridge in the house.

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Silver badge
Pint

bottles

"As a true eco-person, you shouldn't be recycling glass: you ought not to be using it at all."

As long as good wine comes in glass bottles, not much chance of that... but I'll keep it in mind when it comes to beer cans :)

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Boffin

A UK perspective

Recycling in the UK is also about keeping rubbish out of landfill of which we are running short (and taxed to the hilt by the government). A primary driver of recycling is just keeping down landfill waste instead of being eco-warriors.

Washing at 40 degrees. I don't know about most other countries but in the UK we use biological washing powder. These work best between 3- and 40 degrees. Go much higher and you denature (effectively cook) the enzymes and they can't digest the stains. Therefore these work better at low than high temperatures.

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In Ontario Canada, ...

Wine bottles and beer bottles (glass and aluminum cans) are recycled, the cans are crushed (if they have not been crushed on return) and glass bottles are reused (apparently up to 7x). If other glass food containers were uniform sizes from different food manufacturers, reusing may be more feasible and eco-friendly.

Also, here, the electricity suppliers have switched to smart meters and graduated fees for use (higher during business hours, less during evenings and even less during nights and weekends). Therefore, it is more economical to hang clothes out on nice sunny days than use the drier.

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Alert

Speed read most of the comments...

I have a meter and its made little difference in the way I save power. What I found was...

1. My SOHO runs around 200w, but turning it all off at night on the cheap rate saves very little - and the inkjets when starting up run a cleaning cycle thats using ink making it dearer to turn everything off!!.

2. Florescent tubes which people think are cheap to run don't realise that the ballasty thing consumes as much as the tube - our '35w' tubes draw 60w each (provable by turning on and off while watching the meter)

3. Washing at 40 or less may save power, but you need to run a 90 degree once a month to kill the bugs in the washing machine - http://www.washerhelp.co.uk/usage_2.html#cl_q1

T

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Did I miss the humour?

I can;t quite work it out.

Ignorance or humour?

I've no bloody idea stupid!

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Silver badge

Smart people

So the smart people who understand more about energy saving can't be bothered to change their ways? Looks like there is some educating to be done.

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Flame

Propaganda by any other name ...

"So the smart people who understand more about energy saving can't be bothered to change their ways? Looks like there is some educating to be done"

Same people call it propaganda, not education. And you know what?

They are right.

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Hot countries are more eco friendly than colder ones

As someone who grew up in the mediterranean, we have oil heating (ie the most expensive type) for winter and we have air con in summer when it's cold. We also have water shortages aplenty and we have to think of ingenious ways to get rid of rubbish generally, because if left out in the sun it stinks to high heaven.

What's different between hot and cold climes is that while we have central heating and aircon, we NEVER use it ALL the time. We only put aircon on if it's above 35 outside or during a heatwave, otherwise simply closing the shutters and keeping the house dark is a remarkably efficient way of keeping a house cool in summer. Opening the windows wide open is possibly the worst thing you can do to keep cool. Similarly in winter, we don't need the central heating on at all. Just a few short bursts (2 hours between 6 and 8pm for example) is plenty heat for the entire night. Needless to say if you have the aircon on while in bed, you're pretty stupid as you'll wake up with a chill, and if you have your heating on while asleep too, your duvet isn't good enough or, quite frankly, you're not heating yourself up making passionate love. Yes, sex is a pretty good way of keeping warm!

Rubbish in hot countries has to be picked up within a day before it gasses the street. Seriously perishable stuff is usually biodegradable anyway, and mincing it up and putting it down the drain is a better bet (provided your drains can handle it). Then what's left is plastics, glass, paper and aluminium, which surprisingly is all recyclable and doesn't stink.

Furthermore, when I explained to my (English) girlfriend that there was a water shortage one summer, she balked at the fact I left the bathwater in the bath and scooped it up and threw it down the toilet instead of using the normal flusher. Old soapy bathwater is perfectly good enough to flush away last night's curry (and the soap helps ward off the nasty niff emitting skid marks left in the old bowl).

Finally practically everyone over there knows that heating stuff up is the most expensive thing to do. So the amount of crap that resides on top of an oven (because everyone cooks real mediterranean food needing HOURS of cooking) is amazing - kettles, hot water bottles, coils for outside hosepipes linked to the outdoor shower and so forth. Last but not least the ubiquitous solar panels to heat up water is almost everywhere.

The point of it all, is just using PLAIN OLD COMMON SENSE and a little bit of LATERAL thinking pays a huge dividends - that's why my typical energy bills come in on average at on average, one sixth of mates' bills, and I wouldn't particularly call myself eco-conscious at all (I certainly don't bother unplugging my stuff, and I like my light!).

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Recycle glass

People recycle glass because it's stupid to have reusable stuff thrown away when we can just.l. use it again

Does the energy cost also include the cost of processing the sand (or whatever) , molding and transport energy costs? If recycling is performed in the same general location then these energy savings (if that's what they work out to be) should be included.

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Green behavior is mostly about feeling good

Studies have shown that people who think they're acting virtuously are more likely to "trade"--that is, they act worse then they normally would because they think that their virtuous behavior makes up for it.

So when someone flicks off the light, they're more likely to go out and be a colossal jerk on the roadway; because, after all, they figure that they *deserve* to drive fast and tailgate and yammer on the phone, they're *eco-friendly* after all.

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Paris Hilton

Pf! Surveys! Pfff?

There is a beut about surveys in the UK.

Apparently very few customers in exit surveys own up to buying the Brit pork pie.

The surveys cannot tie in responses with volume of stuff sold.

So, interim conclusion, if surveys do not have something along lines of: "you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth" well I'd guess we have to take them with a pinch of salt else a 4-pack of pork pies?

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Boffin

DJCM quote

My favourite quote from David Mackay's book (Sustainable Energy - without the hot air) is "If we all just did a little, together, we could achieve... a little!"

http://www.withouthotair.com/

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Every little helps a little bit

Or to put it another way, if everyone in the world reduced their energy consumption by 0.01% then we'll reduce global energy consumption by 0.01%.

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Insulation and airtightness is by far the best value

Heating and insulation/airtightness is what matters in the UK (domestically). Spend a few hundred or a few thousand on insulation and you will dwarf all the other possible savings. Loft, cavity wall, internal insulation, external insulation and suitable attention to airthightness (most UK houses are hopelessly leaky). By far the most cost-effective change you can make.

As others have mentioned most housholds can save 25% of their power consumption by turning thigns off, getting rid of egrigiously inefficient stuff (we found things like old bell transformers running at 15W permanently and 32W of PIR sensor wasting an impressive amount of power every year).

Commuting by car is the other thing that really gets through the carbon. Changing from a car to an electric moped for my 12.5mile commute reduced my energy consumption from 44kWh/day to 1kWh/day (or 2 at the power station, if you prefer). Cycling is even better of course.

And will people please stop trotting out a couple well-worn pointless arguments. Stop multiplying a personal saving by N million peope. That's an error of scope. Changes you make which save say 1kWh/day are just that - maybe 1-2% of your total daily energy consumption. it would still be 1-2% no matter how many people the effect is replicated over. Read 'Without hot Air' for the book-length treatise on this subject (A book I heartily recommend to anyone who is unsure about the relative energy-implicatoins of various activities and actions).

And similarly the thing about heat from light bulbs. Electric heating is the most energy- and carbon- intensive form of heating we have, so having light emitters that just give out light and heating devices which only heat is _more_ efficient overall. And yes LEDs are rapidly overtaking CFLs - it's the way forward, but do check the Lumens/Watt. Don't buy anything that is less than 60, or you might as well stick with CFLs.

Bristol Bachelor: Don't worry about the combi. The extra water runoff is annoying I know, but really it's peanuts to the losses from a conventional cyclinder/boiler combo. You can still have solar thermal by using a Grant Combisol valve - neat idea. Use the Navitron or Green Building Forums to get details.

I could go one but that'll do for today.

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Silver badge

But I like certian things...

Like Nice HOT showers for long periods of time (my wife says "save some water for the fishies"). Look it is just the way I am. I like creature comforts. I know that having a heated swimming pool is a bit much (I get used to thermal shock after a while), so I forgo that and get on with my life.

Some of the "waste heat" of incandescent light bulbs heats up my office here in the winter anyway. I do recycle Al cans (and get paid for it!) since I do consume a bit of soda, but for all the other stuff, I pitch in the nice big blue (recycle) bin the trash company picks up each week at the house. Sure glass is more costly, but as the wife likes wine, I let it go. I guess there is a limit as what can be done.

Lately there is a silly paper/plastic bag debate, and I re-use both types for various things, and they don't go immediately to the trash, so I really am a 550nM kinda of guy.

As for nuclear power being "non-renewable", and there being a "finite" amount of fuel for them, there ARE these things called "breeder reactors" that MAKE MORE fuel than they consume. The problem is that the fuel needs to be re-processed to get it back, and former president Jimmy Carter put a stop to that (because it makes nice weapons too).

Look, ALL energy is nuclear in some way. If it didn't originate from the sun (the nice hydrogen bomb in the sky), we did it here in a reactor, so quit griping and get on with it!

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But I like certain things like...

Burning old tyres in the garden next to yours and playing Barry Manilo through a 1000w PA stack 24 hours a day. That's just the way I am get used to it.

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Flame

Radioactive decay is constant

"As for nuclear power being "non-renewable", and there being a "finite" amount of fuel for them"

There's a big stupidity in nuclear energy: Some people somehow think that _you can save it_ by not using it.

Which tells that the sayer has no idea what is the process which powers nuclear reactors.

_Radioactive decay happens at constant speed_ and it's a process which don't give a damn if it's happening in nature or in a nuclear reactor.

But obviously this is too much to comprehend to many: This is a fuel which ends when it ends, no matter if it's used or not: After a while it doesn't exist, no matter how much we try to "conserve" it.

Either you use it now or you don't use it at all, which (no usage) seems to be the motivation of many so called eco-friendly people.

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Boffin

Radioactive decay

<quote>Radioactive decay happens at constant speed_ and it's a process which don't give a damn if it's happening in nature or in a nuclear reactor.<unquote>

God in heavens! I have nevr seen a better demonstration that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing than that piece of total drivel!

Have you heard or moderating nuclear reactors - ie controlling the chance of a neutron released by the fission of one nucleus to cause nother nucleus to split? This is changing the decay rate, and is how the therrmal output of a reactor is controlled. Do you not realise that a fission bomb is just a fission reactor in which that chance has got too close to 1, and that the decay takes place very rapidly in a bomb? Heaven help us, learn a little about physics and nuclear engineering before posting and then perhaps you won't post such blatant nonsense.

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Stop

Who's more daft - and misleading...

...the Eco-Nazis, whose certainty is inversely related to their knowledge, or their critics, who go to great pains and research to point that out?

In pointing out the silliness of recycling glass and harassing teens about their cell-charger habits, the critics still implicitly endorse the concept that we, individually, by our habits, can make a big enough difference in energy consumption to make any difference in the grand scheme of things.

Our problems, dear people, are structural, not individual and they will be solved, or not, by structural changes from the top down. Just because those (in the U.S.) who should be making long-term wise choices about such things are thoroughly corrupted and mislead by interests already heavily vested in the established structure, does not change the fact stated, but it does highlight the problem that every micro-watt of brain- and body-power wasted in trying to alter the course of "the Titanic" with a canoe paddle, is a micro-watt that could have been spent getting a better government into place.

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FAIL

Paper is completely wrong about aluminum

This paper makes a ludicrous error about aluminum. It talks about the energy required to make an aluminum can FROM VIRGIN ALUMINUM. But in doing so it ignores the much, much larger amount of energy required to smelt the aluminum from bauxite in the first place! Hello???!!!

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Jobs Halo

Godzilla units

And most of the disinformation is stoked up by the press, and judging by recent performance I can include the technical press as well. I am sure you are familiar with the tabloid statement: "generates 1MW enough electricity for 1000 houses per year". Those of you not recognising what is wrong with that, I suggest you go back to school, or stop reading the tabloids. No! Only Godzilla consumes houses per year. Power comes in MW or kW etc., energy comes in kWh or MWh and the like.

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Some people have no bloody idea about reading a scientific study

I have to wonder if the author of this article actually read the study itself.

The cherry-picked quotes included here are pulled out of context to support the author's demonization of well-intentioned but poorly informed people ("eco-nazis"?). The study's conclusion states that most people are simply ill-informed, and suggests that science and the media have done a poor job communicating risk to the general public.

Which this article itself proves. Amply.

If the author is tired of uninformed people telling him to shut off his lights, he should complain to *them*, not misreport scientific work in order to support his grievances.

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Thumb Up

dont forget the freezer

My old freezer used £125 of electricity per year (yes I measured it). That's nearly a third of the total annual bill, probably a lot more than the washing machine + dryer (washing everything at 40 & line drying 9 months of the year). When it died I got an A+ one that will use £25 per year (based on the first 2 months measures). The new one only cost £250 so I will make that back in less than 3 years as well as being a little bit greener.

So If you have an old freezer, replace it.

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Boffin

Glass Recycling

Just for interest, one of the reasons recycled glass helps is that some recycled glass added to a new batch of ingredients in a glass furnace acts as a catalyst (sort of) and reduced the heat input required by about 10%. As it takes a huuuge amount of energy to make glass this is actually a large saving.

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Anonymous Coward

Aluminium manufacturing is a huge energy hog

"As it takes a huuuge amount of energy to make glass this is actually a large saving."

Saving yes, but making glass needs only a small fraction of the amount of energy needed to make aluminium from bauksite: 16 000 kWh /kilo of pure aluminium.

Also the process of doing that is very far from being non-toxic or eco-friendly, contrary to the process of making glass from sand.

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Boffin

Measure the darn things or you'll never know

I got myself a lovely little power meter (http://www.thegreenstoreonline.co.uk/default.aspx/Page/97/Product/546) that goes in between the socket and the plug. Having tested everything in the house, the biggest electricity users were:

1. Garden lights - these used 200 watts continuously whether they were on or off due to the abysmal design of the transformer. They were plugged in and switched on all the time (with a light meter to actually turn the lights on at dusk for a couple of hours) - 5kWh per day

2. My Old PC - 5 year old box that I use for XP/IE6 testing. This used 400 watts when shutdown and only 50 watts more when in use. Again, horrifically bad PSU design - 10kWh per day

But, by far the worst culprit was my cat, which managed to turn on the immersion heater on our hot water tank. It was on for 6 months before anyone noticed i.e. the electricity board did a real reading rather than estimating. We got a electricity bill for over £1,000 and the cat got spayed for it's trouble - about 70kWh per day

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The cat?

How did you know it was the cat? Especially when it happened 6 months before being noticed!

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Eh?

1. Why did you turn on the garden lights for a few hours every day? I would have thought that was obvious that this was a waste of power with needing to resort to a power meter.

2. PC used 400W shut down! Presumably shut down but not switch off at the supply didn't it get a bit hot without any fans turning?

3. Scape-cat perhaps?

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FAIL

Bad Science

This article fails to observe the scientific method with extrapolating conclusions based on the cited research statistics. Irresponsibly articles such as this one are one of the many sources of the very widespread ignorance it is chiding.

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The point of recycling glass...

is primarily to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.

Actually we used to have deposits on drinks bottles. The shop just had to put the bottles back in the right crate and give you your 3d. It can be done, but it would take more effort for the supermarkets.

Btw, why do we have refridgerators that return the heat to the kitchen so that it can just pass back into the fridge? It would be much better to have water heat exchangers plumbed into a simple system that pre-heats the water. You'd just need a pair of washing machine hoses and a couple of pipes up to the loft (or wherever your tank is).

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FAIL

EU comissars were thoroughly bribed

"Btw, why do we have refridgerators that return the heat to the kitchen so that it can just pass back into the fridge?"

I don't know about you, but here in North we have to heat our houses (almost 8 months every year) so every watt the fridge is making is used to heating the house. Instead of using same amount of wattage by electric heaters and thus the energy consumption of the fridge is essentially and effectively zero. Cool beer is just a side-effect.

Applies also every appliance including light bulbs: Changing them to anything else (10 more expensive) is plain stupidity and EU comissars were thoroughly bribed by Philips and other big manufacturers.

Why aren't they investigated and prosecuted?

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