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PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:00 pm 
Member with over 1000 posts!
Member with over 1000 posts!
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Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 2:09 pm
Posts: 1649
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
What slices of the energy pie are you going to cut back on?
*70% In terms of total energy use, the biggest slice is food. The agricultural industry uses a lot of energy (about 1/5) for equipment, fertilizer, transportation and processing but that is only a small part of the energy use for food. Commercial industries use a lot of energy to transport, store and process food and industrial industries use a lot of energy to process and package the food and deal with the waste. Then when you finally get it home, a big slice of your home energy use is for refrigeration and cooking. If you make your own food, you can often eat it raw and fresh eliminating a lot of the refrigeration and cooking energies. It has been estimated in two different studies (one for the USA and one for the UK) that over 70% of all energy use is connected to food in some way. I personally took the challenge to not use a refrigerator or stove. With a kettle and slow cooker, most foods can be cooked with low wattage (get a kettle that can boil as little as a half a cup at a time and measure the water needed... they have flat metal bottoms instead of coils). Many grains can be sprouted with no energy needed.

*20% The next big section is home heating and cooling... again about 1/5 of all energy use in most industrialized nations goes to residential heating and cooling. There are commercially available methods to eliminate that heating and cooling needs or at least reduce it by 85% (see the one watt house or passivhaus)

*5% About 1/5 of energy use goes to transportation and that is broken down to roughly 1/2 airplanes, 1/4 commercial (bringing you products) and 1/4 moving humans. If you can stay at home or if you can walk or bicycle everywhere, you can save this slice of the pie. Doubling the efficiency of your vehicle could be considered a 2 1/2% slice.

*3% About 4% of total energy use can be attributed to lighting. Use task lighting (only lights the area you are using), automatic lights were occasional use is typical, and, as long as you are not heating with electricity, efficient lights can cut your bill down (but inefficient lights can provide a fine source of electric heat so is a waste to go with efficient lights if using electric heat)

*3% Lots of equipment has "phantom loads" of electronics that is always running and using power. Careful selection of your electronics (no clocks or power-on LEDs), power bars to turn off everything when not in use, and some things can be powered with solar cells are some strategies to eliminate phantom loads.

Fire safety is a big chunk of the energy pie because a lot of energy goes into building a new house.

Remember that everything you buy is full of energy for transportation, packaging, storage, stores to sell it, your transportation to get it and to make the money to buy it

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