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junko.yoshida
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Re: Poseurs vs doers
junko.yoshida   11/14/2013 12:07:00 PM
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Ah, good to hear from you, Bert. I see your point about the fundamental responsibility -- in regards to energy conservation -- belongs to an individual.

I wouldn't disagree with that.

But by reducing the energy conservation issue to an individual do-gooder behavior, i do worry that we might be missing a bigger picture.

The energy issue is so fundamental that it demands a smarter policy, and as a society. people need to participate in forming that policy.  

It's one thing to scold the government for meddling with individuals' lives and choices. But it's entirely another -- a society with no credible energy policy will end up making everyone wasting his time and resources on stuff that may not have any impact, after all, in actually conserving energy. 

Wnderer
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CEO
Pointing at the problem doesn't make your solution any less stupid.
Wnderer   11/14/2013 11:29:43 AM
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I went to the Arrow Power Seminar this summer and they had a keynote speaker from some goverment project involving energy. The first thing he suggested doing was going to flat monthly energy bills, so you would pay the same amount no matter how much energy you use per month. This would help poor people who live paycheck to paycheck who have trouble with air-conditioning and heating bills. Well this is a social program pretending to be about energy.

Then he starts talking about smart dishwashers. Your dishwasher doesn't start right away. It checks the weather report sees it will get windy later tonight and waits for the windmills to start and the price of energy to go down. First, why do I care if I'm paying a flat rate? Second how much of our energy use can be postponed? He didn't have any other examples besides the dishwasher. Businesses can't run without energy on demand. And the government is building this guy four smart houses to 'test' this idea. This isn't testing like a scientist. This is building a case like an attorney.

I don't believe the guy in Greenland with ice cores is lying to me, but the politicos who want taxes, revenue and more government programs are at the very least exploiting the issue. Economic realities and technical innovations are reducing carbon emissions in the western world. All those little things we are doing to conserve energy and reduce our carbon footprint are adding up.  The people who say it is not enough have an agenda.

Crusty1
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CEO
Re: Energy is nevery cheap
Crusty1   11/14/2013 11:13:09 AM
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@Zeeglen : If the health club has a swimming pool at least try dumping any low grade energy generated into the pools water.

It's the technology for harvesting energy after it's first iniial use that keeps my mind occupied. Like technology for feeding braking power back into traction power, this has been a hard won technique but we are now seeing this arrive in cars. The problem is that it takes time for the technology to transfers from rail to road tractor and then car and it only gains momentum when fuel prices get high enough to drive the concept.

Reducing heat on underground transport systems is a very significant problem especially as each person transported radiates approx 200 Watts, on a packed tube train thats an awfull lot of Watts and at the moment it just gets sucked out by giant fans which also consumes power.

Harveting low grade power for reuse is an ultimate goal, but using less at source must always be the engineers and technicians mantra.

antedeluvian
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Blogger
Re: Energy is nevery cheap
antedeluvian   11/14/2013 10:31:16 AM
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zeeglen

Many health-conscious people belong to exercise gyms/clubs and pay good money to run on treadmills etc.  Their energy gets converted into heat and wasted. 

Some of the elliptical trainers and bikes at my gym are self powered. They only need to power the display and sometimes the pressure on the friction pad. I wonder if they could ever produce enough power to offset the cost of creating the grid and powering the lights and treadmills. It would be interesting to see.

zeeglen
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Re: Energy is nevery cheap
zeeglen   11/14/2013 10:10:45 AM
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@Crusty1

In all this time I have been painfully aware of the energy I use, mainly because I often do not make enough potential to buy energy from the work I do.

Here's a dumb idea/food for thought:

Years ago one sometimes heard of a parent who connected the family TV to a generator powered by a bicycle pedal arrangement.  The idea was if the kids wanted to watch TV they had to work at it, thus avoiding becoming couch potatoes.

Many health-conscious people belong to exercise gyms/clubs and pay good money to run on treadmills etc.  Their energy gets converted into heat and wasted.  Would it be feasible to connect these exercise machines to the power grid to harness the energy produced by exercising humans instead of wasting it?  Then membership could be free - just provide the energy that the health club can sell to the power grid.  And thus avoid becoming a couch potato without having to pay for it ...

Probably humans could not produce enough energy to make this profitable, but afaik nobody has ever crunched these numbers.

Caleb Kraft
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Blogger
between two worlds
Caleb Kraft   11/14/2013 9:25:57 AM
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This is always a tough argument going on in my head. I'm a bit stuck between two worlds.

I absolutely love gadgets and gizmos. I love the technology involved in all of these completely unnecessary things around us. I get giddy thinking about new fancy displays for video games and toys that do fun little tricks. Heck, my JOB has been to share my excitement and to make pointless but fun things (in the past).

 

On the other hand, I see this massive waste that is being encouraged and fed throughout the entire world. We don't need any of this stuff that I love. We are arguably destroying the planet around us for amusements and distractions.  It is impossible to ballance these two opposing views in my mind so I typically just keep my mouth shut and carry on.

Crusty1
User Rank
CEO
Energy is nevery cheap
Crusty1   11/14/2013 9:16:42 AM
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@Junko Yodhida: Thank you for a though provoking editorial.

I have had 70 years of survival so far. Probably I have not been as green to the planet as I would have liked, especially where consumption of energy is concerned. I have during this time been a farmer, medical technician and a technician in engineering and electronics.

In all this time I have been painfully aware of the energy I use, mainly because I often do not make enough potential to buy energy from the work I do.

Energy sources that are too cheap will be squandered (time, effort or money), one could almost state this as a natural law.

The problem is that modern domesticated man takes the right to cheap easily available energy as a god given requirement. Governments to stay in power have to make sure energy to squander is cheap. This means that governments actually have less money availble to invest in reducing energy use.

At the biological level, cellular energy harvesting and useage has become well managed with efficiencies that are staggering when compared to a coal power station or even a solar electric panel. Interestingly the cellular time line to reach this level of efficiency is billions of years, and no influnce other than natural selection (no politics or government projects).

So can humanity ramp up it's technology fast enough to stop natural selection from removing them, as an experiment, because they ran out of energy?

 

 

 

Sheetal.Pandey
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Manager
Re: Climate change is.....
Sheetal.Pandey   11/14/2013 7:42:38 AM
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@David, so true and well said. Politicians and policy makers forgets that we all are humans and environment affects everyone in a similiar way, for some it might be immediate and for others, I mean these politicians it might take few more years. The pathetic part is that they try to win mileage or have hidden agendas even in the environment related stuff. Sometimes I feel engineers (the real techie guys) should enter politics, will politics change them as a person or they would change the way political system work.... 

David Ashton
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Blogger
Re: Climate change is.....
David Ashton   11/14/2013 2:03:06 AM
@Sheetal - our current government has its usual breathtaking arrogance on climate change and green energy, but even the last govenment (which did at least introduce a price on carbon), was still content to sell tons of coal to China and others.  The current government wants to expand the coal sales AND develop new ports and shipping routes in our Great Barrier Reef national marine park.  Apparently littering the GBR with dredge spill is more important than preserving it for future generations.  Some things are more important than money, but not to our politicians.....

Sheetal.Pandey
User Rank
Manager
Re: Climate change is.....
Sheetal.Pandey   11/14/2013 1:12:47 AM
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Its the need of today's generation and for the survival of coming generations that we start adapting or becoming green in day today activities. It holds good for both the developed nations and developing nations. For developing nations its on critical path as they dont have system to handle waste getting generated. Whether its ewaste, solid or wet waste or climate related. Engineers can make a lot of difference as they always are more analytical and result oriented. I remember a saying from a small child who told this is her speech in United Nations "If not "You" then "Who", If not "Now" then "When", If not "Here" then "WHere"". 

Its our environment and we have to proetect it for us and coming generations.

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