©2014 FIRECRACKER™GUW ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
How to save energy
I believe the cheapest power-stations are the ones that we don't have to build! I also believe that we are so far into the habit of wasting energy that we hardly notice what we are doing any more. It's rather like the way product packaging has crept up on us to the point where we occasionally ask ourselves, 'why do I have to keep on throwing away all this stuff?' The simple answer is that we don't and could change product packaging over-night if we had the motivation. That's the nub of the issue, nobody is really motivating us and we find it difficult to get motivated in isolation. The same is true about energy because the whole thing just seems so big that we feel we can't possibly make a contribution all by ourselves. I am bitterly disappointed with our decision-makers who's priorities often seem so obscure that I wonder if we are even sharing the same planet! I imagine their blinkered vision will still be marching them toward profit when the ground eventually crumbles beneath their feet! So, accepting that we are on our own with these problems, what can be done? I think there's a huge amount that can be done and, if you're looking for motivation, how does no electricity bill and only a tiny heating bill sound for starters?
In my section Solar panels and green stuff I have already suggested that there are advantages in using solar-panels that are not tied to the electrical power-grid. If the solar-panels are then used to charge batteries it is then possible to run the whole lighting system in the house for free. It's rather like a larger and more efficient version of patio-lights that charge-up from the sun during the day and give out light at night. If we also change the bulbs to low-voltage LED (light emitting diode) lights there should always be sufficient light as required, even in the winter. Because LEDs are low voltage there is the additional saving in not having to convert the electricity to the high voltage of conventional or compact fluorescent bulbs and we'll take every last bit of efficiency we can get! LED bulbs appear expensive but are the same price for bulbs of equivalent brightness because they last approximately forty times longer than traditional bulbs and four times longer than compact fluorescents. They are also instantly bright with no lag-time like compact fluorescent bulbs. With a larger installation of solar-panels and a larger battery it's also possible to run other equipment like fridges and cookers etc although some other local charging may be necessary on darker days in the winter. Just imagine the financial savings for each house and the energy savings for the country overall if such a plan was implemented nationally?
Let's turn our attention now to a real 'electricity-guzzler' which can yield big savings whether we're using solar-panels or not. I'm not talking about kettles, cookers, washing machines or dishwashers as these all use surprisingly small amounts of electricity, I mean the real villains, fridges and freezers. The reason they use so much is because they are switched on all day, every day. Electricity companies couldn't believe their luck when fridges and freezers started to become popular because it meant customers would constantly be paying them money! The problem is that heat leaks back into a fridge or freezer through its insulation so the cooling system has to keep working a lot of the time, and that uses up energy. Even so called A+ appliances are a long way from what could actually be achieved and I'm afraid the cynic in me says that this might be a deliberate act to maintain someone's profits! Because we insist on locating fridges and freezers in a warm kitchen it is all the more important that the insulation is of a much higher standard. There are other solutions that could also reduce this problem but I won't go into the details of those here. The point to take from this is that if we reduced the power requirement by half for all the fridges and freezers in the country that might mean an overall saving of 300MW. To put that in context, it would mean we could eliminate at least one power-station or not need to build one new one. That's just for fridges and freezers, imagine what could be done if we really took energy to task?
Similar to fridges and freezers, the only reason we have to heat our homes is because the heat leaks out through the walls, floor and roof. The main beneficiaries of this are the oil, gas and coal industries and I am trying very hard not to be cynical again in suggesting our dreadful performance at insulating our homes in the UK may not have received the maximum support it should have done. A few rolls of fibre in the loft and a bit of foam in the walls just isn't good enough if we are serious about saving energy!
I've already made the case for the efficiency of local energy production Local heat and power and also suggested that we could make much better use of wood in the section Wood is such a good fuel. I could go on to talk about the savings for cars and a multitude of other possibilities but I won't now. The point is that there are almost an unlimited number of things that could be done but aren't and, whether it's through ignorance, laziness or conspiracy, it doesn't really make much difference to me because it's the possibilities of change for the future that I'm interested in. Anyone else that wants to join in to save money, save the planet or anything else is really making a hugely positive contribution, surely that's a win for all?
These websites may also be of interest (click on Web addresses):-
See more information about energy efficiency here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efficient_energy_use
A really interesting way to heat your house for FREE here: http://mb-soft.com/public3/globalzc.html
©2014 FIRECRACKER™GUW ALL RIGHTS RESERVED