Added: 24.01.2011 10:44
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Tackle your energy consumption

Climate change is something that everyone has heard of and have some sort of opinion. When there is discussion about how to prevent it everyone is talking industry and it’s emissions. And when you’re trying to talk about wasted energy on homes comments are ¨Amounts are so small, it doesn’t matter¨.

Many of my friends keep their computers and TV’s on all the time. Especially computers stay on even during the night. And when it’s asked why, the reason is that it takes too much time when it boots from shut down. My opinion is that if you can’t survive the first five minute of the morning without computer you should be bit worried.

Anyway the behaviour which I just described is quite common in todays world. It’s true that one human can’t cut greenhouse gas emissions greatly but if everyone cuts their emissions little, it already has relevance. And remember that electricity that comes from sockets is made somewhere, Probably by burning fossil fuel or by nuclear energy. Same thing applies on warming the houses, heat comes somewhere.

About half of the energy consumption in homes comes from heating(at least in Finland), 20 percents go to heating the water that is used and last 30 percents come from all the electronical equipments there is.

Heating takes big part of all the energy used but you can reduce it, if you keep the temperature around 20 degrees Celsius and use woolsocks and other warm clothes. Water consumption can be reduced by taking quick showers instead of bubble baths. Both of these are such subjects you could write a final thesis from them but now we focus on household electronics.

Biggest energy consumer in house are normally fridgerators and freezers because they are on all the time. New refrigeration devices are much better saving the energy than the old ones and easy way of reducing energy consumption is simply to change the 15 year old fridge to new one. Same applies on washing machines and dishwashers.

Also TV’s nowadays use less energy than before but screen sizes have gone bigger since flatscreen TV’s and that cancels out the saving. TV’s and many other device has stand-by-mode which reduces energy consumption but it doesn’t end it totally. Best way is to shut them down from the powerswitch or if there isn’t one, taking the power cord away from the socket. And of course when you are buying new devices you should consider if you really need those and make comparison between the energy consumption of different models. And do you really need 48 inch flatscreen or is the one with 36 inch enough?

And then the computers. Main idea is that laptops consume less than desktops. The difference can be big and in optimal case laptop consumes 90 % less than desktop. Pretty much every new computer has energy saving options like computer automatically shuts the screen and hard-drives when you haven’t done anything for example 5 minutes. Use them. If you need printer, fax and copymachine you should by machine which have them all. That way you have only one machine using power.

And about shutting down the computer. If it really takes 10 minutes to computer to start you should contact some one who can fix it. It’s not normal. And for the rest of you, you’re making excuses so you don’t have to change your way of life. If you shut the computer for the night and you turn it on when you wake up it’s up and running in the time when you are done with your morning routines.

So I’m daring you to think about your own energy consumption and reducing it! And for the bonus your electrical and water bills might reduce too.

Research question: How to make people aware of their energy consumption?

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Environmental Engineering students used to prepare posters about water consumption; such as how much water it takes to flush a toilet, how much water it makes in total during a period of time and then some comparison that is easy to imagine.
Such promotion action on the elctricity consumtpion could work. There was something similar in that manner for (better to say against)excess alcohol consumption. You have to remember those bus stop posters - cool or not cool!