The zen of energy saving

Getting into the energy saving mind set is half the battle. The examples in other areas are quite convincing; drivers of hybrid cars tend to get better mileage if they leave their display in efficiency mode.  And biofeedback (when stripped of all the spiritual mumbo-jumbo) does have real effects.

Once into that mental zone it’s quite fun to think of more ways beyond the obvious to save energy:

  • Motion sensors in bathrooms and other little used rooms to save on lights
  • A device charging rack to make chargers visible and to prevent chargers left all all over the house plugged in day after day.  A really nice future thought is to have a standard (say 12V) input to all devices like cell phones, computers etc. etc., then wire the house for 12V (in addition to the normal 110V) and have just a simple cable from the 12V outlet to the device.  No need for multiple transformers.  The central 12V transformer could have some intelligence so it draws no power when there is no load.  Initial EU standards for cell phones are a small step in this direction.  Just think of the savings in not having to throw out chargers each time a new phone or toy is brought into the house
  • Minimize buying electronic toys…
  • A door knocker or mechanical bell instead of an electric one – it’s purely symbolic in terms of energy saved but sends a message.
  • LED lights where possible, CLFs everywhere else
  • Switches on all ghost loads
  • Clock powered by air pressure fluctuations – (solar!!) – I know the payback on such a toy is too long to be measured, but it’s the symbolism of the thing.
  • Commute by bike – of course…

Make the usage of energy visible.  One nice device coming into home stores and available through Amazon is an energy savings monitor that transmits usage information from the electricity meter to a monitor.  Here are reviews for one such monitor

What would be ideal is to monitor the energy usage by room, but that needs input and some smart software – more research needed!

Let me know your ideas.

Or join a band of people who collect such ideas.  Slate magazine has started such a project and collected many good ideas (and some not so good).  The point is to think about energy conservation and then take individual action.

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