Monday, October 23, 2006

A Nation of Energy Wasters

The UK has come bottom of a survey of the energy saving habits of European consumers - see the BBC coverage here.

The focus of the coverage as usual is TVs etc left on standby, but it struck me watching Torchwood last night that, although I needed my cable TV box on to see BBC 3, I had my DVD player and video on as well. So I whipped out my funky new energy meter and did a little experiment of my own to see how the balance of electricity works out for different behaviours.

If I say that in an average day, the TV is on about 3 hours, of which half an hour is cable TV, and a quarter of an hour each of DVD and video, then the energy required is 0.2 units per day.

If, as above, I have the unused equipment on standby when watching TV, but switch everything off outside my 3 hours of viewing, I'll use 0.34 units - 41% of which is wasted. As a result I'm going to change the way our equipment is connected to the socket, so it is easier to watch terrestrial TV with everything else switched off.

Of course, if I leave it all on standby 24 hours a day, I'll use 1.49 units, a whopping 87% of which is wasted.

These are all piddling amounts of energy, but if you start to multiply up against 60 million people over a year, then it starts to get very significant indeed.


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