March 28, 2008
Nudging Our Way to Carbon Neutrality
Is getting more sustainable more about lots of little signals than about big sacrifices? That's what a recent NY Times article suggests.
March 27, 2008 11:58 PM
Meh, my average utilities, counting heat, stay under $100 still. I also bought a 35+ mpg car in 2004. Live cheap and it pays off.
March 28, 2008 2:32 AM
I totally agree that the little signals are needed. I have a little meter that sits next to the thermostat that says how much electricity I've used so far this month, and knowing that information down to the kWh definitely makes it much easier for me to make decisions like "Should I turn up the thermostat, or put on some socks?" Likewise, driving a car with an instantaneous mpg gauges tends to make people slow down and not drive as aggressively.
March 28, 2008 10:53 AM
Matthew Hickey Says:
Would it not be great if every product you purchased contained a statement of the CO2 emitted during it's production and use? We will never have a free market without enabling consumers to make wise decisions. Same goes for democracy...it's about information!
April 2, 2008 10:33 AM
Ron Swaren Says:
Perhaps a better way to reduce carbon pollution is to have HVAC codes rewritten so that new buildings are designed to even greater energy efficiency. Since we are already doing that to a considerable degree with things like insulation and weatherstripping it shouldn't be too offensive, even to those fearing government intrusions, to go on to the energy consuming appliances as well.
One item that I think could help a lot, especially in milder climates, is infrared electric heating, at least in offices--- where creature comfort is not such a priority as at home. An infrared heater placed near a workstation would make the person comfortable and not waste a lot of energy on heating the rest of the room. And walking away from one for a few minutes would perk you up a little, it seems. In the 1970's various infrared heaters had come on the market---you were warm as long as you were in front of the rays. The electric ones were usually just a flat panel and also called a plaque heater--but nowadays I only see gas fired ones. I've been looking for an electric one to use in a small room.
I suppose there would be some Nervous Nellie types alarmed about infrared rays. Well, we could make an exception, I suppose.
There are also high rise building designs that incorporate natural cooling features---and these work best where there are cooler nights. A vertical shaft in the building let's warm daytime air flow out, and other vents open up at night to let cooler night time air come in. Better thermal glass will help reduce heat gain, too.
Highly efficent vehicles are coming too. With gasoline certain to stay expensive the demand will be great enough for manufacturers to respond. It's about time: the techniques for building high mpg vehicles have been known for many decades.