Monday, December 22, 2008

'Tis the Season for Efficiency

I've been on a mission at the office (Tunheim Partners) to get my coworkers to print double-sided. I used to work in a bubble (a.k.a. energy non-profit), where everyone duplexed. I've found that's not the case in the real world.

So a few instructional emails and personal consultations later, I've converted 5 more people to print double-sided by default (that's about 20% of the office).

The American Petroleum Institute has also come out with some
helpful efficiency tips for the holidays (and all year long). Like most energy efficiency ideas, these aren't rocket science. But most of us are not doing them. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Underinflated tires can decrease fuel economy by up to one mile per gallon.
  • The faster you drive, the more gasoline your car uses. Driving at 55 miles per hour rather than 65 miles per hour reduces fuel economy by about two miles per gallon.
  • Pace your driving. Unnecessary speedups, slowdowns and stops can decrease fuel economy by up to two miles per gallon.
  • Holiday ham and turkey are usually roasted for hours. Since it’s a long, slow cook, there is no need to preheat your oven, even when the recipe suggests it. In fact, unless you’re baking breads or pastries, you may not need to preheat the oven at all.
  • When using your stove, match the size of the pan to the heating element. More heat will get to the pan and less will be lost to the surrounding air. Believe it or not, a six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste over 40 percent of the energy!
  • Turn off your holiday lights before you go to bed, or consider installing timers to reduce the amount of time your holiday lights are on. Just 10 strands lit for 13 hours a day can add more than $50 to a monthly energy bill.
  • Use energy-efficient LED holiday lights, which use 10 percent of the energy of mini lights.
  • In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance.

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