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Energy Efficiency and Public Information

by nanne Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:10:38 PM EST

Today I had the hairbrained idea to plan for buying a new fridge / freezer with my flat-sharing community. As we only have old stuff, and I mean old as in fifteen to twenty years old, I suspect that it uses far too much power. Plus, it is my patriotic duty to consume when the economy goes down, or something.

Of course to get something that uses a lot less power you will need information. So I started a search for Energieeffizienz Geräte. The first page I got was the federal environment ministry. I later repeated the search for Energieverbrauch Geräte (energy use for appliances), which is a more habitual expression. The ministry's page was the top sponsored link, although not in the first ten search results.

The ministry's page has a lot of general information, but it took me four clicks to get at what I was looking for, a detailed overview of low-energy use products on the ecotopten page.

It's easier to use than the energy star page, from what I remember.

We've had some questions here about computer monitors. The page on monitors only lists those who conform to the TCO '03 emission standard. There are quite a few of those at lower energy use than I managed to find in a previous search.

You'll also note the blue column. This shows the annual costs of an appliance over its projected lifetime, five years for monitors, fourteen for fridges -- assuming a certain amount of energy costs. At 22 Eurocent a kilowatt, perhaps a bit high in some countries, but you never know what the future holds. So it's quite simple to find the double benefit you're looking for.

To find good public information sponsored by the government, on the internet. Maybe I'm getting too used to government lingo, but I found it all very usable.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Fri Nov 14th, 2008 at 07:12:34 PM EST
This is (was...) one of the aims I had in mind with creating a website with an overview for European consumers: a European-orientated internet hub of information on eco-friendly and eco-smarter applications.

Of course it died on the vein - because the scope of it is massive. But I still suspect it has potential - particularly when the next waves of high oil prices will roll in.

by Nomad (Bjinse) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:42:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
do you know kevin kelly's 'cool tools' website?

i love it.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 12:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suspect you mean Do It Yourself Energy which was based on your own initiative and my attempt remains sorrily lacking in scope. I am, if you'd believe, thinking of a re-boot, which is slightly more Africa orientated and more personalised.

I still think that's a bankable idea if you'd start with a focus on renewables and completely green (say, cradle to cradle) products.

There are some basically non-sponsored sites doing consumer information. The site I linked to earlier, called zerofootprint.net, has basically shifted away towards only providing information about services it wants to sell business. Which is the main field to make money. It's also what the Carbon Trust website Sven linked to seems to do, if a bit more elaborately.

So right now I only know the website utopia.de. Which is interesting in that it is built on a community (it also has some questionable elements exemplified by the slogan Kauf dir eine bessere Welt). It's gotten over 30,000 people to register as users in a year. So there's definitely potential among the LOHAS* crowd.

* Because every 30 something trend needs an acronym

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 01:31:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, what we have here is the basic first step in moving to a sustainable economy.  J is always harping on demand destruction, which i think Amory Lovins first called negawatts.  In any case, this is the cheapest electricity we can find, and "producing" serious amounts of it enables renewables to be more effective.

Though for the life of me i don't understand why one needs a machine just to keep the bier cold.  ;-)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaļs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 05:33:20 AM EST
The traditional Finnish 'earth cellar' - an outside cellar either built into a hillock or bermed by earth on 3 sides, and used for storing vegetables over winter, is ideal, so I am told, for storing beer.

In town, during the winter, domestic parties are powered by crates of beer  (24 x 1/3 l) left to chill on the balcony or outside.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 06:23:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Though our resident beer expert might have something to say about the imprecision of serving temperature under these conditions ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 06:25:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another reason why every appartment should have a balcony.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:10:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ernst Ullrich von Weizsäcker, who wrote his factor four book with Lovins, is now talking about 'resource productivity'. He says that the efficiency Lovins talks about is 'in a box' and that productivity is about networks.

I don't know if that's necessarily so. You can always upscale your definition of efficiency. But in practical terms, it is true that we talk too much about how we can make one thing better rather than an entire network.

To go back, this is the difference of talking about better mileage for cars and talking about car-sharing, biking and more public transport. TreeHugger had a good, simple post on this recently:

7 Overrated Technologies and Their Underrated Low-Tech Alternatives : TreeHugger

Technology rocks, and improving upon what we have is a boon for fighting climate change in a lot of ways. But sometimes green gadgets get more attention than the totally effective non-tech solutions to problems in our lives, because, well, non-tech solutions are boring. The latest and greatest is always fun to talk about.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 02:31:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Carbon Trust has excellent consumption comparisons.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 06:27:14 AM EST
If only there were some way to compare the efficiency of transportation systems! For one thing, it is really hard to figure out whether trains are really better than airplanes, and it is essentially impossible to compare diesel cars to gasoline cars to electric cars to sugar-cane powered cars. For another thing, even if you can figure out which one is better, the retail pricing of the energy sources is all over the map so you can't make sense of what's going on.

For example, a few months ago gasoline in the U.S. was well over $3 pre gallon. (Blah, blah, it's $8 in Europe, blah.) Now it's dropped below $2, but diesel is still in the $3 range. So everybody that thought they were going to beat the system by getting a diesel car or truck is now getting hosed.

Meanwhile, GM is arguing (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/automobiles/16STICKER.html) that the Volt should be classified as a 150 mpg car because it can get through the EPA test cycle using its gasoline engine hardly at all. It is a mess.

by asdf on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 11:30:54 AM EST

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