The Economist magazine. It is not a fun read. It’s a roller-coaster of global perspectives, stripped of the blowhard political rhetoric that’s rampant in this country. They have run several stories on global warming that present the facts and rebut the drama. Some of these I will post eventually because they will give me an excuse to also share one or two of the fascinating nuggets sprinkled throughout The Economist.
This story is not about global warming (directly), but rather about our faulty perceptions of energy conservation. Think residential scale here. The study shows that, on average, we underestimate both energy use and energy savings by a factor of almost 3. We understand the concept of the 100-watt bulb, but fail to realize the exponentially higher amount of power used by certain appliances. This chart shows the discrepancy:
The study concludes that information increases the awareness of the impact and that metering devices on appliances could really drive the point home. Honestly, I have no idea how many watts my A/C uses. I know its SEER and its tonnage, but not the watts. When we moved into our house, the “as-is” settings were giving us huge electric bills. So, we kept raising our A/C temp until we reached the point that we were not comfortable and just dialed it back one degree.
There are several good lists on the Internet that rank appliances in terms of energy use. Find one and start with the biggest energy hogs in your house. Modify your behavior first and replace equipment only when needed.
Here’s a link to the full article: http://www.economist.com/node/16843797