Par for the course... Any technology that saves money, energy, time, maintenance-repair costs, etc is accepted and respected. Solar wins on all these. Initial costs and competing tehnology adjustments may need to be made. Those hard to sell to have more than one solar powered calculator at home. Curiosity is alive and well! JamesRetta
I have actually encountered hostility from people who are not using energy efficiently. I drive a Honda Insight most of the time and I have a sizable solar array in my yard, but I make it a point to not preach about it. Even so, I get people in SUVs passing me very aggressively and dirty looks from neighbors. My theory is that they feel guilty and compensate by asserting their right to waste energy. This type of peer pressure is also, I believe, a factor. Either that or I really am a jerk...
Cool? Who cares? Save the Moolah? Now we're talking, but comfort always wins. I keep the A.C. in the house set to 78. Not quite as cool as I would like, but it is the upper level of comfort. Raise it to 82, and I won't be very happy and the incremental cost to lower it to 78 is easily worth the few extra dollars. Here in the mid-Atlantic, most of the cooling dollars are spent on lowering the dew point anyways. A few extra degrees either way doesn't make much difference.
Energy efficiency will be instituted and driven by the utility companys employing punitive motivation. The changes to home and corporate energy management and the amount of data exchanged between utilities and the consumer will, necessarily, be very disruptive when compared to current methods. The utilities will drive these changes for their own reasons, chiefly load-balancing and efficient use of capital resources, and the real-time usage information will be quite valuable to 3rd parties willing to purchase that data. No doubt, the 'cool factor' will be marketed to the nth degree in order to coerce and accelerate the buy-in to what will amount to a large degree of loss of control by the utility consumer.
By the way, the EE Times Newsletter editor, Dylan McGrath, needs to review current events regarding AWG and CO2 -- it would seem to be news to him that there actually is no AWG crisis or global thermal problem that can be addressed by employing these energy efficient systems.
Engineers shouldn't assume that the problem is insurmountable. Why should we give up prosperity and convenience? This isn't our heritage. We believe in solving problems. Energy isn't a bad thing. Energy efficiency is a good thing. We can figure out how to have as much energy as we need and still balance our ecosystem. We should not turn our innovative spirit and dreams over to politicians, we can solve our own problems.
You are right! It is every engineers job today to include as much energy efficiency as possible into their designs. That said, I believe that if you check out ThinkEco's "cool factor" solutions, you will see that they are not just window dressing, but in fact do contain significant technological innovations as well.
I feel your pain. Here in the Northwest investors who put millions into wind turbines are getting paid zero from the utilities right now, because all the rain has created an excess of hydroelectric power. This is a massive dis-incentive similar to your problem with raised rates. However, this just makes a case for my story's thesis--that traditional incentives just don't work in the long-term, because the changing landscape of current events can short-circuit any particular incentive. On the other hand, people love their mobile devices more than their children now days (: I say, tongue in cheek :) so if companies like ThinkEco can make energy conservation as fun as "Call of Duty" on a smartphone, then people will likely "play" at it just for the "cool factor."
So what happens when everyone is conserving energy? Here in Connecticut with some of the highest electrical rates in the country the utilities raise their rates because they aren't making enough of a profit. I have no incentive to conserve other than it's the right thing to do. The Smart Grid will just be an expensive boondoggle that enriches a few companies at the expense of the ratepayers. Our nifty new digital meters have turned into a fiasco as Northeast Utilities continues to stonewall the regulators over major issues with the meters - as in significantly wrong readings if one can believe what people with the problem have been saying. Do we really need to add all the appliances talking across the Internet? Next the "regulators" will be raising the temperature in my freezer!
Behavior modification requires coercion. I prefer to leave that to politicians and lawyers. As an engineer, I prefer innovation - products that produce the same or better user satisfaction with greater efficiency.
The world is not serious over energy conservation. The fact remains that the people that live in mansions are those preaching this message. I was told that Senator Al Gore consumes 13% of his local utility energy in his house. It is not just talking, we need to act. I tend to believe people are talking to others without doing.
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