Friday, March 30, 2007

Energy Reforms

Lately I experienced a number of powercuts, and this led me to be more careful with my energy consumption.

What I did
I tried to figure out how much electricity all my appliances consume. In most cases it's very easy: it's written on the appliance in Watts. If this is not specified, you have to figure it by multiplying the Amp by current. Example 0.5A in 220v current is 110Watts. Not so difficult. You'll find the detailed information at the botton of the post.

Then I tried to think of ways of reducing consumption:
The electric kettle was the most energy demanding of all - so I decided to switch to an old-style whistling kettle.
I replaced all the light bulbs with energy saving - saving some 500-400 Watts.
I am much more careful to switch appliances off, such as speakers, chargers etc.

1. It's very easy to save energy. Switching light bulbs probably saved 20% of my power usage. It's also very easy to find out how much one is using - the appliances have the information on them.

2. But I didn't bother to check or change until I had to. Even though I knew my supply was precarious, only a real crisis forced me to be more rigorous.

3. What do I need electricity for?
Light - hardly consumes power but is really crucial. As nice as candles can be, washing dishes or preparing dinner with only a few candles is not easy. You end up eating pumpkin peel soup instead of pumpkin soup.
Heating - important and consumes much but there are alternatives
Food refrigeration - will soon become very usefull as it gets warmer. Yet the fridge consumes far less than a heater.
Computer, speakers - important but not crucial. And do not consume much.

I keep this in mind when I read about energy crises and their implications. They don't mean the end of the world. We can do with far less than is the average use today in the UK. Conservation is the way forward and is the easiest way to tackle CO2 emmissions. But we need a real and immediate sense of threat in order to start conserving seriously.

Appendix: energy use by appliance
Electric Kettle: 2200 Watts
Oil radiator: 2000 Watts
Laser Printer 1000 Watts
Inkjet printer:
Electric coffee maker:
Lamps: 100-40 watts
Speakers: 40 watts
Laptop computer: 120-200 watts
Fridge: 700 watts (estimate)

# Of course, not all of these are connected at the same time. The fridge is waiting in the corner for the summer. The kettle only worked for brief periods.


PeakEngineer said...

Sorry to hear about your power cuts -- it certainly makes one contemplate potential existence without electron juice! You're definitely doing things right by running the numbers and sorting out ways to redesign your usage.

Electric Sadhu said...

i have to be justify my name as an electric sadhu and correct you my brother: Amp is the current unit. what you multiply it with is the voltage, e.g. '0.5A (of current,e.s.) in 220v voltage is 110Watts'.

mink said...

thanks for this dear sadhu. I was half counting on you to correct me on the terms. It's hard to imagine I studied electricity physics for a whole year (but that was 16 years ago. Has it changed?) unfortunately I think I always looked at these terms as metaphors.