Monday, October 05, 2009

A good idea for everyone...

As most of my friends know, I'm a numbers guy, and all those numbers mainly relate to money. And, as most of my friends know, I'm cheap, so saving a buck and helping the environment at the same time is always a good thing.

Lately we have been seeing lots of ways to help the environment, mainly be reducing our dependency on oil and reducing the wasting of energy. One great idea are these Energy Dashboards that people are starting to invent/create/hack/use.

These are great ideas that could help all of us reduce our energy needs and reduce energy waste. Of course these things aren't available yet in our area (although I think Boulder, CO has something similar) and they aren't 100% as useful as they could/should be. But, they will get better and I hope that all utility companies find a way to get these gadgets into everyone's homes. Although - what is the incentive? The energy companies don't want to fork out the dough for this box and give it to you - and they don't want you to stop using the gas/electricity (lowers their revenues and profits). The utility companies will not be pushing these on us, and this is where capitalism will fail us.

Luckily, we have a world full of hackers, inventors and idea people and they will find a way to make these things work - and work well with your utility company, it is only a matter of time.

Personally I can't wait to get one of these. I know the first day I will be running around unplugging stuff and seeing how much my usage goes down. The sad part is, that I should probably just unplug all that crap now - or put the items on those powerstrips with on/off switches.

I guarantee that everyone who uses one of these (or something similar) will become more energy efficient. Being more efficient is not just a way to save the world, but to also save a little more money and spend that money in the economy (on fly fishing stuff) and thus pump those funds back into the vicious circle of our economy.

There, I said it, now I feel better.


Chris said...

actually the city of fort collins utilities dept. is in the process of implementing an AMI system for electric and water meters. AMI is an acronym for advanced metering infrastructure, and it will give the customer and the city the capability to see real-time demand at an individual customer level, so that in periods of high electricity demand (hot days in the summer when AC is on), they can dial up the generation station and order more power instantly or vice versa dial it down. once "smart" appliances become more available, they will have the ability to turn off certain systems or recommend to the customer that they do so through text or email msg.

and for the record, it's much better for us if the customer conserves. adding additional generation and transmission capacity because of a need to expand because of higher customer demand is way more expensive than customer education on ways to conserve.

Brandon said...

well, I know that even utilities (well, most utilities) have to answer to shareholders, and reducing revenue is never profitable without a reduction in costs. and costs are much harder to reduce quickly.

I just noticed that the FtC utilities is run by the city - which is run by taxpayer rolls - and thus there is an incentive to reduce consumption, thereby reducing costs and thereby reducing taxes (well - that is if everything goes right). I think with a taxpayer company like yours, there may be more focus on reducing consumption/increasing efficiency than at a private utility.

I know what you are saying though, we need to conserve, I just hope that even private utility companies put a full effort in getting their customers to conserve/use less.

I think we all need to applaud FtC for their efforts and hope more communities push for similar efficiency tools.