UK going to hell on hardware, eco group warns
We're going to buy too many power-hungry gadgets, apparently
Turn off your telly, shut down your PC and dim down those lights, because if you don't, by 2020, 45 per cent of the UK's electricity will be gobbled up to feed the nation's love of gadgets, according to a report from British NGO the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
EST's delightfully titled report, The Ampere Strikes Back, warns consumers that by 2010, consumer electronics will be the single biggest... well... consumer of domestic electricity, overtaking fridges and lighting.
The report also warns that our love of laptops, LCD TVs, iPods, mobile phones and gadgetry in general will require the equivalent of 14 average-sized power stations just to keep them powered and charged, with the finger of blame primarily pointed at our love of standby mode.
Way too many gadgets, dude, warns the Energy Saving Trust
With the UK currently living in an "ICE (Information Communication Entertainment) age" - groan - the report states that an average UK household is likely to contain between two and three TV and DVD players/recorders, three mobile phones, three cordless phones, up to two MP3 players and radios.
Divorced, widowed and unmarried singletons are largely to blame because they consume electricity differently from those shacked-up with partners. So romantic meals for two and sharing of iPod headphones makes for more efficent electricity use, it seems.
A rise in the sale of flat-screen TVs over CRTs is also, according to the EST, having an impact on electricity use. By 2020, the average UK household will have 2.6 flat-screen TVs, EST forecasts. The number of digital adaptors will also increase by 67m to 80m by 2020, increasing their total energy use by 400 per cent.
For example, the average technophile could clock up an annual electricity bill of £219 through use of "everyday" gadgets, including a 42in plasma TV, iPod, laptop and broadband router.
The EST's report does provide readers with some advice on how to change their gadget-hungry ways. Multi-function products, such as Apple's iPhone, which combines a phone with an MP3 player, internet and email, are one way to avoid the need for multiple devices to be run at the same time and all of which need charging up.
However, the EST warns that this will only be worthwhile if manufacturers invest in making such devices energy efficient when in use and being charged.
The Energy Saving Trust's report can be downloaded here (PDF)
The council installed two huge electronic sign boards on the A46, either side of Stratford on Avon. I have only ever seen 2 messages on them a) "Use the Park and Ride" b) "Not in use".
And how much electricity does it take to keep the lights on all night in our local supermarket?
The Good News
The subject is in the news. More people doing more research means the quality of the information improves. More customers voting with their wallets, means manufacturers are forced to engineer around energy consumption rather then perhaps less important factors.
CRT vs. most new tech. Pilot burners vs. ignition. Hot water tanks vs.demand-led systems. Radiators vs, underfloor heating. A rated white goods vs. C....the more consumers become informed, the more conomic forces favour them getting what they(and the environemnt) wants.
The most important thing is when given options, if within ones economical spectrum choose the leanest, greenest product.
Green is the new black, and this alone will mean that sustainable/environmental products will stop compromising the consumers experience/functionality/service/coolness
Be part of the solution...and have fun doing so
What about gas boilers with permanent pilot lights? In 48 hours, the pilot burner can consume enough gas to cook a Sunday roast!
It is actually less expensive to build a gas boiler with electronic ignition than a permanent pilot burner: the gas valve is much simpler (2 mains solenoids, no thermocouple solenoid). But greedy appliance manufacturers preferred to charge you more for the privilege of spending less.
And don't even get me started on how wasteful gravity-fed hot water circuits are compared to fully-pumped systems .....
Green = Expensive
It's all very well preaching to us to go green by using more energy-efficient appliances, but they're so damned expensive. Recently, our fridge-freezer gave up the ghost, so i found myself in the store looking for a new one. We're on a rather limited budget, so couldn't afford £500+ on A-rated gear - the best we could afford was a C-rated fridge that would look good in a doll's house. Energy-saving lighbulbs are also dear, though they do last for years, i suppose (perhaps they should do that for batteries - it's criminal the number of batteries we throw away into landfill).
I could go on and on, but won't.
But, one last thing...with the EU (and even California) considering a ban on incandescent lightbulbs, when will the manufacturers come up with a low-energy bulb that doesn't make the room feel like a morgue and doesn't stick out of the top of your lampshade? :)
So they're saying that if we use stuff, then the stuff we use will consume most of the power we use? No sh*t! That's why we have the stuff - to USE IT! See how that works? Buy stuff that uses power, and use it, because we like what it does?
This like saying, "If people keep driving cars, most gasoline will be used by cars!"
... Yeah, so?...