Check out these cool stickers http://www.hu2.com/store/eco-reminders.html
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Information Aesthetics (a great blog by the way) has an interesting post on insulation. There's a high activation energy for people to determine whether or not they have appropriate insulation. Either you need to climb around in your attic and have a practiced eye and know about R values of insulation, construction and so on, or you have to pay an expensive consultant. But here's a way a group quickly and cheaply (spread across everybody's energy savings) found a way to get past that activation energy.
"Out of most existing buildings, a significant amount of heat escapes unnecessarily, out of which at least 30% is typically emitted through the roof construction. Many governments throughout the world attempt to tackle this problem by supporting the insulation of roofs through rebates, tax credits and other financial incentives. But how can individual citizens determine whether such a costly renovation is worthwhile for their own house? The online project 'Zoom into Your Roof' [antwerpen.be] tries to help solve this question through a relatively simple visualization. During the winter of 2009, a small airplane with an infrared scanner made a wide sweeping thermal scan of a large part of Belgium, which resulted in the largest thermographic map currently available online. Inhabitants living within this area are able to select their home address and answer a few questions (such as the angle of the roof). in order to determine for themselves how their own roofs actually perform."
Here's a link to their products at amazon Belkin Conserve products
Probably most interesting is the outlet with built in timer for only $9.99
You can set it to 1/2 hour, 3 hours or 6 hours. This way your phone can get charged without continuing to charge all night. Or as they put it (paraphrasing) you don't burn down your house with your curling iron.
Here's their kill-a-watt competitor:
It's more stylish, comes preloaded with average us electricity cost and does the total cost over time as well.
Their remote controlled power strip has been out for a while and seems a bit over priced to me. Which uses more resources this $30 strip or a $2 strip from ikea. Of course the belkin has a nice light switch looking control to help you to not have to walk over to the power strip to turn it off.
Finally they have an auto switched strip, that senses load on one of the outlets and turns the others off. They suggest having the tv in the sensor spot and turning off game consoles stereos etc when the tv is off. There's nothing new here but belkin has more style and marketing reach so maybe more people will start using these when they see them in costco or bestbuy
Anyway, I have no association with belkin and haven't actually used them myself so fair warning, just thought I'd mention them here.
Remember as we hit the summer in the northern hemisphere, the biggest energy saver your can easily do is use your air conditioning less. Get a wet towel and drape it on your forehead for your own personal swamp cooler :)
Friday, April 10, 2009
As I have previously expressed, I have wished for motion sensor lights that fade in and fade out (so they aren't as jarring). I think this way people would be more willing to embrace motion sensors, and thus not leave lights on in a room that the might come back to shortly.
Make magazine has a question from "Shawin" on their website on how to make one of these yourself. He asks:
"We are renovating an old house we just bought and I wanted to have the rooms fitted with motion-sensors so that lights automatically turn on when someone walks in, and off when the room is empty. The problem is that I want the lights to fade-in/out instead of suddenly turning on/off.
Can someone please tell me how to do that? Are there existing switches that I could use?"
There are some suggested approaches on how to do this but no existing products mentioned.
For those of the less diy electronics set I found some ledon the web:
"Upon detecting motion at night, StumbleLight instantly provides light at full intensity for 12 seconds and, if no motion is detected after 12 seconds, will slowly fade from full intensity to off."
Philips press release
"Light fades out gently when no motion is detected
No wiring required (requires 4C sized batteries)
Minimal battery consumption provides up to 6 months use
Only works at night due to a built in a photo sensor"
Most of the motion sensor lights I found have a limited motion sensor range. Some add infrared detection to the motion to reduce false activations. Many turn off after thirty seconds (not really long enough in my book as there are too many things for people to stand behind in a house for 30 seconds)
Some have a photo cell so they don't waste energy turning on when it's light out.
This one glows dimly then turns on full bright when it senses motion
So does the 2nd one and it also has a photo cell
Stairs product from smart home depected at top
Many of the ones I have bought suffer from being too dim and a lot of the reviews agree.
One note for those making their own with motion sensor switches, using LEDs will give you a much nicer experience than fluorescents because they don't have the pause and flicker on turn on. LEDs are being used for brake lights because they turn on so fast (of course I'm asking for gradual turn on which doesn't require fast, but if there is a pause before it starts to do anything people think the motion sensor isn't working and get annoyed)
On amazon I found a motion sensor LED light that advertised:
"the sudden activation startles unwanted visitors but also provides safe entrance and room lighting for your family and guests."
Am I barking up the wrong tree here?
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Also of quantitative energy measurement interest, they state below that 20% of electricity is used for lighting, They also quote the DOE saying LEDs could save 30% of energy consumption.
Maybe I'm not getting it, but it seems to me if you assume that LEDs use 0 energy, and replace all lights, if you believe the first number that would only reduce our energy consumption by 20%.
Chinese researchers have LED manufacturing breakthrough that could lead to new white LEDs for indoor use
Furthermore, the US Department of Energy previously said LEDs could help reduce the country's national energy consumption by 30 percent by 2025. If true, that will help households in the U.S. save $125 billion total in power bills per year.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
"We've seen compact fluorescent lamps start to take over shelf space at the local hardware store. Replacing a 60 watt incandescent with a 13 watt CFL seems like a great savings, though many consumers are disappointed with the slow warm-up times, lower-than-advertised lifetimes, and hassles of disposing the mercury-containing bulbs. Now EDN reports they may use more energy than claimed due to their poor power factor. Mike Grather, of Lumenaire Testing Laboratory, 'checked the power factor for the CFLs and found they ranged from .45 to .50. Their "real" load was about twice that implied by their wattage.' The good news: you're only billed for the 13 watts of real power used. The bad news: the utilities have to generate the equivalent of 28 watts (that is, 28 VA of apparent power for you EEs out there) to light that bulb. Until they fix these issues, I'll hold on to my incandescents and carbon arc lamps, thanks."
Friday, April 3, 2009
It's on Amazon's friday sale (today only -- I'm not sure how much of a discount relative to normal days)
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Here's a blogger who graphs his home power usage every 10 seconds.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
However Garmin has announced that they have created "ecoroute" a route planning algorithm for nuvi 200 and 700 series GPS units
Garmin's website ecoroute page says:
"users will have a “less fuel” option as a routing preference. When selected, nüvi will determine the best route for saving gas."
"Fuel Report tracks fuel usage over time, and Mileage Report monitors mileage and fuel usage on a per-trip basis. You can also customize your nüvi by entering vehicle type, your car’s fuel economy and the current price of gas."
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I would suggest taping the remote to the door frame so it's like a switch you can hit when you leave the room.
Of course, you need to make sure you are going to save $23 worth of energy (but be a good citizen and calculate sustainable energy costs based on solar not our subsidized coal!)
Monday, October 27, 2008
though amazon seems to have some cheaper options like this
Current cons include: jerkiness of on and off, having to wait for lights to flicker on (esp. fluorescents), extra costs of the sensor switch, sensor switch getting blocked by furniture, sensor switches getting turned on by pets or breezes outdoors. Also the first one I link to, a certain percentage will die after some amount of time and require replacement.
Note that the replacement switches are the most unobtrusive, but they don't always lend to ideal placement for the sensor. Also you need an electrician to do the replacement (though certain electrical engineers I know have done the replacements yourself, though I don't recommend it as death or hair standing on it's end can occur -- remember once you let the smoke out of your electrical system it's very hard to get it back)
My motion sensor dream:
Switch would have off, auto, 10% auto, and on.
Auto would leave the light off until motion is detected, it would quickly ramp the light from 0 to 100%.
10% auto would leave the light at 10% (so you can vaguely see and not trip) and quickly ramp to 100% when motion is detected.
When leaving a room it would gradually lower the light from 100% to either 10 or 0% depending on the setting.
I think these features would eliminate a lot of the issues that people have with motion sensors lights.
Also, a lot of houses have motion sensors already for alarms, can we build off that somehow? For that matter the alarms also know when you enter and leave a house, that could tie in to a turn off all the lights when you leave sort of scenario.
For those with incandescent sockets: screw in motion sensor
or those with plug in lamps: pluggable motion sensor
Please note that I didn't do extensive searching on amazon for the best, I just found the ones I originally bought and amazon recommended the other 3.
Note, there are cheaper generic versions of these sensors findable on google products results, though they are from unknown suppliers and unknown stores, but please report back with your findings and let us know good ones that are cheap!
Well, actually it's quite a neat gizmo—it's battery powered, and simply mounts directly over a light switch, which it then throws for you if it doesn't detect movement in front of its sensor. Plus it turns the lights on when you enter.