[Greenbuilding] A watt saved.....
9watts at gmail.com
Fri Feb 20 22:40:01 CST 2009
First off the (all too familiar) logic of setting up a consumer decision
like this all too often *does* suggest people buy the expensive product.
Obscuring the very real possibility that there is an option that is both
cheaper to buy and operate, as this framing does, is no accident. Such
products explode the premise that yields things like product rebates and
sundry other incentives and programs that presume that an extra increment of
energy efficiency must be purchased at a premium. We come to think that the
solution to our energy problem requires new cutting edge technical solutions
that experts are continually devising for our benefit.
Energy Star is based on and reinforces the prevalent logic that to get more
energy efficiency you have to pay a premium. Energy Star refrigerators (to
stick with LL-man's example) are on average a spendy lot, but this is not
because some extra technical effort has been expended to get them to use
less energy, but because the majority of refrigerators that qualify for an
Energy Star have through the door ice and water and/or are Side-by-side
models which by the rules means they may consume more kWh per cubic foot
than if they didn't have those specifications.
If we recognize who wins the game of equating greater up front cost with
higher energy efficiency, and in what situations this way of structuring the
choice landscape obscures certain (more interesting if less profitable)
choices, I think we might learn to be more suspicious of the whole effort.
My point was basically the same as yours, Corwyn: 'doing your efficiency
homework' as you put it leads me to question the larger framework within
which we are commonly exhorted to act as efficiency-mindful consumers.
On Fri, Feb 20, 2009 at 2:36 PM, Corwyn <corwyn at midcoast.com> wrote:
> Reuben Deumling wrote:
>> On Thu, Feb 19, 2009 at 10:40 AM, Lawrence Lile <LLile at projsolco.com>
>>> Let's say you are considering two appliances that accomplish the same
>>> one of which uses 1000 watt-hours per day and the other that uses 500
>>> watt-hours per day. It will take you = $500 worth of extra solar cells
>>> run the less efficient appliance. Is the more efficient appliance less
>>> $500 more than the cheap one? Then it is a good buy. This is how you
>>> justify a $1000 refrigerator on a PV system.
>> The problem with this calculation is that the appliance that uses the
>> energy may also be the cheapest/cheaper. Cheap (in terms of purchase
>> does not ipso facto mean uses more energy or is less energy efficient. Not
>> that the appliance manufacturers' marketing departments wouldn't like you
>> think otherwise, but 'tain't usually so.
> How is this a problem? It doesn't say you should buy the most expensive
> appliance. Just that if the most efficient one happens to be more
> expensive, it is worth it if it is not more expensive by X amount. None
> of this relieves you of the obligation to do your efficiency homework.
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