Thursday, April 26, 2007

One year Blog-versary.

I started the time-is-energy blog one year ago. Yea! This is also my 100th post.

As part of my one year celebration combined with a belated Earth-Day update, let me list several steps I have taken in the past year to reduce my CO2 footprint.

1) Purchased carbon offsets: a TerraPass to offset my annual car CO2 emissions (I have to renew soon) and Native Energy wind power RECs to offset 400kwh/month of electricity.
2) Purchased and installed ~150 CFLs (90% went into my parent’s vacation house and my siblings houses). Prices are all over the map for CFLs, but I found they sell for as little as $1.67 [15W] and $2.50 [25W] at Home Depot. I also suggested (in writing) to my building management that it replace 400 incandescent bulbs in back stairways with CFLs to save ~$10k/year in electricity expenses…something they have begun to do.
3) Purchased a WattX meter capable of displaying how much energy is being used (& the $ cost) by a specific appliance.
4) Advised my parents to install a solar thermal system for heating water on their country house. The system is able to offset (not use) the equivalent of 20 kWh/day. They love it!
5) Calculated that per watt an “always on” electronic device costs ~$1/yr (at $0.12/kwh)
6) Discarded (actually freecycled) my one-time favorite 300watt halogen lamp (torchiere). After realizing how much money it costs to use each night (thanks to WattX).
7) Purchased several sets of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries. I’ve reduced my disposable battery waste stream by at least 2 AA batteries/month.
8) Decided to purchase only recycled paper products (napkins, paper towels and toilet paper) mostly Earth First brand. Recycled paper uses much less energy to make and uses less water than virgin paper—oh and it saves trees!
9) Decided to purchase only recycled printer paper (minimum 30% post consumer).
10) Altered my highway driving behavior. Before: the driver that passes 95% of the cars and trucks on the road. After: the driver being passed by 95% of them. Speeding wastes a crazy amount of gas: 15% each 10 miles over the limit. I now look at those cars zooming past with pity rather than envy.
11) Installed Local Cooling applet on my computer which turns off my computer when not in use saving ~100kWh since December. (Local Cooling's reported savings are only estimates.)
12) Filed two patents on products that use solar energy. One uses sunlight to purify water. The second covers a solar panel that generates power with 30% fewer cells than is used in a standard panel.

As that inane oil company comercial says..."its a start". Oh and new ideas are always welcome...


At 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a great site Daniel!!!!! I love it:) on my thesis rough draft paper I got an A- on my research, an A- on my composition, and a B++ on my mechanics. thanks for all of your help!


At 3:00 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Congratulations! You deserve it. Good luck on the final.

At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Deborah said...

Hey Daniel,
You are way ahead of me when it comes to this idea, but recently (well actually today) I started thinking about an idea to get my complex to replace all the light bulbs in all the units with CFLs. I live in Austin and they have recently started an Energy Saving Initiative and I was thinking that it would be possible to get many, if not all of the complexes in Austin, to replace their regular light bulbs. Did you simply ask you complex to change the bulbs or or how did you go about the process?

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

Hi Deborah,

Great question. I'm not certain that it was my efforts (alone) that caused my building to switch. Still the building is replacing all bulbs with efficient ones as the normal ones die (and it wasn't before--so I think I helped).

I submitted a letter to my building's management asking them to consider using efficient bulbs. I laid out the economic case for switching to efficient bulbs. I followed this up by submitting a copy to the building's treasurer a few weeks later.

I live in a building with over 300 apartments so we have lots of light bulbs. The light bulbs in the front/main hallways are already efficient bulbs, but oddly in the back hallways (which are on 24/7) they are not. All of the light bulbs in question are in common areas (which everyone in the building pays for by way of a monthly assessment).

I counted ~380 bulbs that could/should be changed. I calculated that each efficient bulb would save ~400kWhr per year. (This comes from 60W-15W = 45W x 8,760 hr/yr.)

Assuming an $0.08kWhr electricity rate the savings would amount to $32/bulb. Thus the building could save ~$12,000yr in electricity charges alone (since efficient bulbs also last 10 times longer, maintenance costs should also be less).

I finished by adding that beyond the $ savings, the building would be reducing its contribution to global warming. (My letter was partly inspired by watching An Inconvenient Truth.)


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