March 30, 2012

DON'T INTERRUPT, THEY'RE HUFFING:

The Phantoms I've Killed (Tom Murphy, Do the Math)

You can always tell a physicist from a magician, even if both show tricks/demonstrations in front of an audience. The physicist is eager to explain how and why the "trick" works, perhaps repeating the performance and encouraging onlookers to view from all angles. So I can't wait to tell you how we pulled off this fantastic reduction. [...]

An easy move to reduce electricity consumption is to switch to fluorescent or LED lighting. These typically consume one-quarter of the energy that incandescent lights do for the same level of light output. If a house uses 1000 W of incandescent lighting for six hours of the day (6 kWh), then the same practices using efficient lighting consumes only 1.5 kWh and therefore reduces the typical American house's electricity usage by 15%. I'll take it.

Incidentally, You can buy a 100 W incandescent bulb for about $1 that will last 1000 hours. Or you can spend $5 to get a quality compact fluorescent light (CFL) that will last 10,000 hours (don't spend $3, or your CFL may not last long). Over the same period, you would need to buy 10 incandescent bulbs for a total outlay of $10. But that's not the worst of it. In that 10,000 hour period, the incandescent bulb racks up 1000 kWh of electricity, costing about $100 at a price of $0.10/kWh. Meanwhile the CFL sips power at 25 W and will cost $25 in its lifetime. In either case, the electricity cost dwarfs the hardware cost. In the end, you can spend $110 for incandescent lighting (and nine bulb changes) or $30 for CFL lighting of the same intensity. Yet many people huff at the $5 CFL cost (and as a result may get cheap versions that don't last so long and turn them off further).

Posted by at March 30, 2012 5:03 AM
  

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