31 January, 2007

An effective way to save energy

California may ban conventional lightbulbs by 2012

It's interesting to note that at least two of my attempts to save energy (and money) by replacing the regular light bulbs with the cool sprialy ones ended prematurely before I could feel any savings. The stupid helices blew up in just a few months, so so far it's more of a waste for me (and the environment).

There is, however, an easier and, I believe, a more effective way of saving energy, and in that one I excel. It's called, "Turn off the frigging light when you don't need it!".

I think I'm the only one (or close to that) who turns off the light at the apartments laundry room when leaving, and who doesn't turn them in the middle of the darned day!
Sure there is a timer-equipped light switch, but everyone just cranks it up to the maximum (~50 minutes), and as the washer, dryer cycles takes 35-45 minutes, the light ends up shining all day long. All sunny day long!

PG&E charges at least 11 cents per KWh (this appears to be their lowest rate, residential), so from 9am to 9pm it's going to be 0.4*12*11 = 52 cents/day (assuming 400 Watts for lightning). The laundry room serves about 500 people, there are 300*10e6 people in the US, of them 30% are renting (http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/h150-05.pdf), which gives us that 100*10e6 / 500 = 200,000 laundry rooms are needed, consuming $104,000 in excessive lighting per day, about $40 million per year.

Is that a lot of money? Not really, but that is in laundry rooms alone, where an average person, like myself, spends about 1/1000th of the year (whoa!). Factor in unused lighting in restrooms, balconies, patios, server rooms, malls, etc. and those $40 million easily become $4 billion, which is twice the light bulbs market.

And I won't even mention the idea of line-drying your underpants, instead of using the 3 KWh/week dryer!

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