Posts Tagged ‘Enviromental

18
Aug
08

Vampire electric load

I heard this phrase ‘vampire loads’ when I was watching a documentary on Nat-Geo. Unfortunately I was in a rush so was not able to finish that program. Today I googled the term ‘vampire loads’ and found lots of article about it. Its quite interesting, and hopefully after you read through you will better understand how your household electrical products consume electricity, and from there you can reduce your electricity consumption, hence reducing your CO2 footprint.

Read on…

What is a vampire electric load?

A vampire (or phantom) load is the electric current consumed by an appliance when the appliance is switched to its labeled “off” position though it continues to draw electric current to perform functions other than its principal ones. The industry uses the term “stand-by” for this mode, although the appliance labels the mode as “off”.

When an appliance is switched “off”, doesn’t that mean it is disconnected from the electric circuit?

Not these days. Most recently-manufactured appliances continue to draw current–usually at a substantially reduced level.

Why do appliances have vampire loads?

The vampires power convenience features, such as touch pads, remote controls, memory presets, instant-on function, and digital clocks as well as background functions of set top boxes that download program information.

Are the electrical requirements fixed by the nature of a particular convenience such as the remote off/on feature?

No. Some brands and models operate these features much more efficiently than others. Many appliance models are unjustifiably wasteful of the electricity they consume while switched to “off”, due to engineering designs paying insufficient attention to energy consumption.

Are there differing kinds of standby?

Yes. For example, computers have a “sleep” mode and an “off” mode. Both draw smaller amounts of vampire current, with the “off” mode typically drawing the least. Computers in their “off” position, draw up to 9 watts. A few still include a true off like your old 486 PC did. Computers in “sleep” mode range between 1 and 83 watts, with 21 watts being typical.* Many other electronics also have three levels of power draw. For example, a printer may draw six watts when switched “off”, twelve watts when switched on without operating, and twenty watts when printing.

Do vampires reside only in electronic equipment such as TV equipment and computers?

No. Until recently, major appliances had been fully automatic in that at the end of their cycles they shut themselves truly off by automatically disconnecting from the electric circuit. Recently-manufactured washers, dryers, and dishwashers, including the Energy Star rated models, have vampire loads ranging as high as 5 watts. There seems to be no contemporary model that truly shuts off at the end of its cycles, and many do not include a manual “off” switch, but some do.

Five watts seems so small, so why worry?

Liken it to a dripping faucet. Over the course of a full year, the Energy Star clothes washer model with the 5 watt vampire load uses less electricity when washing the family’s laundry than it uses when idle but left plugged in.

Are there other paradigm shifts recently in addition to the one for major appliances?

Yes. Before the era of cordless phones and answering machines, the phone company paid the electricity costs for phone service under its centralized control over the electrical requirements for phone service. The burden is now shifting further to the consumer in forms where the consumer cannot control it. In our testing we found that Verizon FIOS, for example, will cost you approximately 11 vampire watts for each FIOS component installed in your home.

What’s the scoop on those “wall warts”, my plug-in transformers?

The most obvious vampires, plug-in transformers like those used to charge batteries or to operate a cordless telephone or an answering machine, are modest offenders. They usually draw less than one watt when not charging or operating the appliance. They are often visible and convenient to unplug when not in use.

Should I be concerned about the total amount of the vampire load in my home?

Yes. Studies show that standby consumption is 10-15% of total household electricity consumption. The newer the appliance, the better the chance it harbors a vampire load to operate its convenience features. The individual vampire loads range from a fraction of a watt to over 40 watts, so you are likely to find your appliances account for 10% of your total electric bill when switched to “off”.

Are there types of appliances that are standout offenders?

Yes, the set top boxes (cable boxes) used by cable and satellite TV systems have large vampire loads. The loads range between 10 and 48 watts when switched to the “off” position. Mini audio systems average 8 watts and go up to 24, powered subwoofers average 10 and may include no “off” switch of any kind.

Do Set Top Boxes vary by type?

Yes. Digital units with recording capability draw the most, over 45 watts when switched to the “off” position. Non-digital boxes draw about 10 watts when turned “off”.

What solution is there? Simply unplugging the set top box when I’m not watching TV means I must wait through a lengthy warm-up time when I plug it in again!

While that is likely the case, try using a plug-in timer to schedule the set top box to turn on before you normally begin viewing TV, and to turn off when you are normally asleep or at work. This approach would serve you somewhat like a programmable thermostat.

By how much does the large size of a single vampire load matter?

45 vampire watts feeding off your electric power bill for a year totals nearly 400 kilowatt hours–enough energy, according to DOE, to operate a new 21 cu. ft. Energy Star refrigerator for 10 months.

What should I do?

● Educate yourself about this subject and share what you learn.
● When your appliances will not be used for a period of time or the whole family will be away from home, unplug those you can.
● Use power strips for shutting off your computer and its peripherals, audio-visual equipment and other suspected groups of electronic equipment each evening and when not in use. ** (Caution: Some flat screen TVs contain a cooling fan which may remain on for a few minutes after the TV is switched to “off”.)
● Assume any appliance with a remote control, a digital clock, a touch screen or soft-touch switches or controls has a vampire load, unless there is an additional mechanical switch on it.
● Always buy Energy Star appliances, and look for the occasional brand offering a true “off” switch, usually found on European brands.
● Try to live without the level of TV cable service that requires a TV cable set top box or acquire as few set top boxes as your family can live with. Unplug those rarely used.
● Obtain a watt meter to test your home appliances, such as P3 International’s P4400 Kill-A Watt. These easy to-use meters cost less than $30 and can be shared with friends and neighbors.

What other ways can I save electricity while reducing my carbon footprint?

● Purchase wind generated electricity. (http://www.powerchoice.com/ProductsAndServices/ResidentialServices.aspx)
● Replace your refrigerator if it was built before 1994 and dispose of the old one.
● Dispose of the extra refrigerator in your basement or garage.
● Increase your reliance on CFLs (compact fluorescent lights).

* Source: Pier Final Project Report, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab., Dec., 2007
** The “Smart Power Strips” which became available earlier this year, detects when you turn off the primary
appliance in a group and then electronically powers-off the associated peripherals.

Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition
rvccc.org
(540.387.0930

26
Jun
08

JustLife Organic Products

I would like to share with you some products that we bought from JustLife shop in Melaka. JustLife promotes healthy lifestyle by introducing organic and environmental friendly products which is quite interesting. My girlfriend and I became their regular customer and enrolled as member. Normally we will purchase some organic foods either as breakfast or as supplementary food to improve health condition. You and learn more about this from their website at www.justlifeshop.com Here are some of the products which I bought this week. ( Price indicated is member price as of 24th June 2008 )

Manuka Honey (UMF 25+) – RM88.20/250gm

This is one of the product that I think is highly recommendable for those with gastro-intestinal disorders. My g/f used to have esophagitis or GERD problem which always cause her to have stomach pain especially after meal. After taking Manuka honey for several months as well as taking doc’s medicine and control her diet, now the problem is gone. Manuka honey also improved the constipation problem that once bugged her. If you have similar issues I think you should try this (of course you will need to look after your food intake as well otherwise nothing can help you). You can see more info about Manuka honey from this website: www.manukahoneyusa.com (although it is different brand but I think the effects are more or less the same) There are several categories of UMF rating, such as 15, 18, 25 etc, but higher = pricier. Ask for their recommendation for the problem that you are facing.

Hot Oatmeal with Apple Cinnamon – RM 13.40/8 small packets

Next is the Hot Oatmeal with Apple Cinnamon which is quite tasty. Just add hot water then you will get a wholesome breakfast. Quick, easy and healthy.

Baby Rolled Oat – RM 6.20/500gm, Oat Bran – RM 7.10/500gm

G/f bought this for her mum. I think the taste is quite plain but its healthy food. Just add milk.

Bamboo Charcoal – RM 30 for 3pcs (depends on size)

You will be surprised with what this can do for you. This is sort of a natural cleanser/absorbent. My room used to be stuffy and smelly (as sometime i sweat at night) but after I placed few of this bamboo charcoal in my room, WALLA no more stuffy smells! You can place it in the water to sort of purify it and there’s many other usages, just ask the shop assistant and they will tell you about it.

Lifestories Monthly Magazine – FOC for members

We like the magazine very much as it contains information such as healthy lifestyle, organic products, environmental protection and etc. They don’t post the magazine to you, instead you will have to pick up the magazine from the shop which is perfectly ok for us as we go there almost monthly.

Lately the shop no longer provide plastic bags, instead they encouraged us to bring our own bag when visiting the shop. I think its a good idea and I hope other shops / shopping complex will start to do the same too. Plastic is bad for our earth so we should use less of it.

Talking about plastic and it’s harm to the planet, why not you check out this this blog, quite interesting on how to live a plastic-free life : plasticfree.blogspot.com

Cheers!

22
May
08

The 11th Hour

I watched a documentary several days ago – “The 11th Hour” narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio.

I think this is a good documentary and everyone should watch it. We need to understand that we are at the brink of disaster due to global warming. The movie highlights the main causes of the global warming such as greenhouse gases, deforestation, water pollution and etc. All these are due to human beings’ activities that bring harms to the nature. Its important for us to realize that our present generation must START to right the wrongs, we need to understand our impact to nature and how we should change our lifestyle so that our future can enjoy a better environment. WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION NOW!

Actually in our company this year we started to emphasized on the CO2 reduction. Lots of manufacturing processes being reviewed and drastic actions being taken to reduce CO2 emission. On top of that we have a new policy whereby office air conditioner’s temperature cannot be lower than 28C(used to be around 25C, its quite hot actually but we will get used to it). We also off the lights during non working hours such as break and lunch time. There’s a lot of activities being carry out and I hope other companies will at least take some measures in order to contribute to preserving our nature.

So, maybe you can start to do something about your working environment, how to reduce electricity consumption, how to reduce CO2 emission and etc.

On the other hand, we also need to consider what we can do as an individual. How we can change our lifestyle so that we can reduce our impact to our beloved earth ? I have personally made a few pledges that I would like to start doing.

1) I will not use my car’s air conditioner when driving to and back from work.

2) If I used the air conditioner in my room at night, I will use to timer to off it after 2 hours.

3) I not use plastic bags when go for shopping. I will carry my own shopping bag.

4) I will use lesser amount of water when doing my washing and shower. I will not waste water.

5) I will create awareness in my family and my friends, to understand the seriousness of global warming.

By the way, do visit www.earthlab.com and register yourself. You can calculate what is your ECP (Earth Conservation Plan) score, your CO2 impact to earth and you can get plenty of ideas on what you can do to help to heal our earth.

I hope you can share this message with people that you know and let’s start to make a different!

~cheers~




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