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    Entries in energy conservation (3)


    A quick look into Patriotism


    Today is the Fourth of July, and a day to celebrate the birthing of this nation. Through many of this county's difficult times, many of them were reflected in the propaganda poster art during World War II. Obviously we all know Rosie and Riveter and Buy War Bonds poster, and an art project has taken up roots to try and make battling climate change and other environmental issues being the new rallying cry for Americans. Green Patriot Posters is an off-shoot of The Canary Project, which is a non-profit organization, that focuses on using art and media to help bring awareness to climate change. Green Patriot Posters encourages people to make their own pseudo-World War II era posters to become rallying cries for the 21st century.

    Taken directly from their website:

    During World War II the United States was able to mobilize industry and motivate its citizens in breathtaking speed. Factories were overhauled and consumption habits transformed. Strong, graphically compelling posters played a crucial role in the success of this campaign.

    These posters presented the actions of individual citizens as vital for the nation and portrayed those who took part as attractive, dynamic American heroes.

    Today a similar mobilization is required to address the crisis of global climate change and achieve energy independence. That’s why The Canary Project and its partners have launched Green Patriot Posters.

    Green Patriot Posters is a communications campaign centered on posters that encourage all U.S. citizens to build a sustainable economy. These posters can be general (“We Can Do It!”) or can promote a specific sustainability action.

    These posters look pretty slick, and it's a pretty cool thing to try and get people involved, and remind us the sacrifices that our previous generations had to make during times of strife. Something that should be reflected on this 4th of July.



    ---Justin J. Stewart


    What is a kilowatt-hour?!!!??! via Karen Stucke

    Let's talk about some definitions here. We are trying to save energy at our homes and trying to reduce that magical kW/h number. It's an easy concept, the number goes down over time, you are reducing your cost and increasing your efficiency. Here is the real question though, what exactly is you impact. What exactly is a kW/h?



    Now, a kilowatt/hour is 1000 watts of usage in one hour or 3.6 megajoules! Wow! That's a lot of megajoules right? Or is it a little bit of megajoules? What is a megajoule? What is a watt? Right, it is all confusing that can get to a bunch of scientific definitions, which I could go into with you, but that doesn't save you energy right? No. Not really. We want to express ideas into reality and real life applications. One 60 watt light bulb used to 1 hour is equivalent to .06 kilowatt/hour (i.e. (60W/1000)/1 hour, and 60 Watts being .06 kilowatts, because there are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt. So it would be 60/1000). You would have to leave that light on for about 16 hours and 40 minutes to get one measurable kilowatt hour (which is most if not all electricity companies charge you for).

    Now, I just gave you a bunch of math, and still it probably doesn't help you with day to day operations of how much energy you really use. So here is further research. Thanks to one of our readers out there, Karen, we have been supplied with an awesome link to see how equivalent energy is being used in your part of the country versus an amount of kilowatts. The Green Power Equivalency Calculator comes from United States Environmental Protection Agency, and is a quick and easy way to see how much Coal, Gas, or CO2 would be used with your kilowatts that you enter (you can pick any number that you want). The Calculator is supposed to figure out how much your "green" energy purchase through the EPA saves from going into the environment, but can be used as a reverse calculator of also telling you how much of the equivalents you just put into the environment.

    I used my last month's electricity bill and entered my 477 kw/hs for my region (region 21 ERCT according to the map on the page). I was then informed that my 477 kw/hs is equal to 242 kilograms of CO2 emission. Or equivilent CO2 emissions of 27 gallons of gasoline, .563 barrels of oil, 10.1 propane cylinders for BBQs, .001 railcar worth of coal, and .029 of the average American home in one year. Interesting stuff I say. It makes you get a better grasp of how much Carbon-Dioxide you are giving off into the air. I am not sure if I ever really answered what is a kilowatt-hour, but I hope I gave you a fun tool that can help you grasp it more...


    ---Justin J. Stewart (link via Karen Stucke)


    Energy Useage and Goals. AKA Justin looks at his energy consumption!

    I have spent the past couple of days of compiling my families energy usage since moving to College Station, TX almost a year ago. I decided to do this because if I am going to talk about being eco-friendly and saving on electricity, I need to start setting goals.

    Our Apartment!Laura and I live in an apartment, which makes our options fewer than owning a house (obviously we can't change out Windows, redo insulation, weather strip, and change our washer and dryer). Yet, the options we do have, are cheaper and probably can be done quicker and we should be able to see a faster impact. We have yet lived here for a whole July, and I haven't seen the whole June energy report yet (our current energy usage is through 325 days), but I do think that I can start making estimates and still setting goals of month by month. My over all goal is to cut back our energy by 15% and our gas by 10% the first year. I will start the year at the end of July for measure, but will start looking for energy saving practices during the month of July, so in reality, that last July of next year should be the hardest month to save on, unless I have come up with some great ways through the previous six months. 

    So far this year we have used 3922 KW/h for an average of 12.06 KW/h a day (I stated earlies this was through 325 days). Which means by the end of July next year I will want our average to be down to 10.251 KW/h a day for a total use of 3741.615 KW/h for the year. That is already less energy used than we've used in 325 days this year. I will start taking the proper steps to correct this immediately and let ya know what I am doing. Something that might surprise you that I am not going to do immediately. Like, switch all my light bulbs to CFLs. The reason for this is the following. I am going to wait for the light bulbs that are non-CFL to burn out before replacing them with CFL lights. The energy cost to make a CFL light outweighs using a normal light to the very end. Yet, as soon as the lights go out, a CFL will go in!

    The next thing I will conquer is my gas bill. I only have the stove, heater, and hot water heater hooked up to the gas line. This process will be more about conservation and use more than changing out products (even though I have a nifty piece about the new GE Water Heater coming out in a few days, thanks to a tip from Kevin Fretz, who was tipped by Jay). My current gas usage over 10 months has been 18.8 MCF (MCF for 1,000 cubic feet, M denotes mil, thousand). That is an average of 1.88 per month. My goal is a 10% reduction for 1.692 MCF per month or 20.304 MCFs per year. 

    I will keep everyone updated on my progress, and am open to any suggestions you might have no or along the way. Any little help I can get, I think I will need.


    ---Justin J. Stewart

    P.S. An aditional bonus will be the money we save by doing this! Per average this past year would have cost us 595.04 in energy cost alone (not counting other fees, but just pure KW/Hs). If I meet my goal it should cost me 505.04 dollars. That's one hundred dollars for small changes that I can probably make for free, plus it should in tern lower taxes and what not. For my gas is currently would cost me $164.36 just for delivery of the gas (no taxes and other fees). After it should cost me $147.92. That is only almost twenty dollars, but if I exceed my goals by just being aware for free, it could save me more, and honestly in today's economy every penny helps!


    **edit 7-2-10: The reason we are not tracking water consumption is because, unfortunately we have no date on water consumption. Our complex owners take care of our water through the city of College Station. When we get our utilities bill that would normally also include water, it says our useage is 0.0. As great as that would be from a conservation stand point, I just don't think it's true...**