Treehugger does a nice job mentioning something that felt missing in a Wall Street Journal article which cites a new study from MIT. I want to take that one step further.
It's been validated by expert after expert and study after study and now MIT's - CO2 emissions reduction for existing coal power plants...we will not get our CO2 problem under control without cutting back our coal carbon emissions.
Treehugger goes on to state, "The WSJ very much correctly nails the urgency with which this has to happen: Now, not at some point in the future." But the focus on cleaning up coal emissions as the main point led them to discuss the prudent concept of spending some of that money on renewable energy in order to stop the building of new coal power plants and ultimately phase out coal entirely.
I couldn't agree more and in light if the immediacy of the problem, I think this should all be taken into the context of differences we can make very literally, today.
We are fully behind renewable energy and also want to mention inexpensive things that can be done right now to help through reducing our consumption. Three of the big potential areas in our everyday household lives are: heating and cooling, lighting and phantom power. We'll continue to cover these topics but to keep this post brief, look at what can be done with a simple dimmer switch...
Dimming your lights by 25% saves 20% of the energy used and extends bulb life by 10 times. Automated systems can set lights to come on at any %, saving energy every time they're turned on.
According to Dr. Ian Rowbottom, it costs about $7.75 to generate one watt through solar power but a mere 35 cents to conserve one watt with a dimmer at only 15% routine dimming. It's 4 times more for coal and wind and 8 times for nuclear.
If every switch in every US home were replaced with a dimmer, the savings would be 421 billion kilowatt hours per year or the equivalent of 52 large coal-fired power plants.
It's probably more than you expected and it's nowhere near what can be accomplished when you tie a lighting, heating/cooling and overall power control system into your home security system as at a little extra cost, you can add the security system's awareness of your presence to create a truly automated energy saving system.