Final Summation

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 7:22 PM

Posted By: David Kluvers

The goal I set out for myself at the midterm was to find out how much phantom energy I waste in my personal life. To be perfectly honest I was having a very difficult time figuring out how to answer the midterm question and this was the first idea I had that I was able to flush out into a complete answer. I knew the task I set out for myself was a difficult one, but I also knew that it applied perfectly to our topic in addition to being an important undertaking on its own. It took my quite a while to figure out how to quantify this number, and eventually the best solution I came up with was to buy a Kill-a-Watt and start measuring. In case you don’t know, this is a device you plug other devices into and it gives detailed information about how much energy is flowing. But even this proved to be more difficult than I expected, because it did not come with instructions of any kind. Also I do not know very much about kilowatt hours, amps, and volts. Another complication was that I am not the only person living in my house, so I could not measure every aspect. As such I set out to measure the things only I have control over and that were in my room. This basically came down to two separate surge protectors, one containing my alarm clock, TV, DVD player, and Cable Box. And the other my laptop charger, WiFi, stereo, and air filter. To simplify things I only measured the watts that each was pulling at any given moment. My grand total phantom energy limited to these things was a relatively constant flow of 127 watts. I was surprised to find my air filter draws 30 watts, and that is something that until this I left on always. My stereo, which I have always tried to turn off when I’m not using it, draws 35 watts on standby. And my WiFi router draws 7 watts, not too bad. I also found that I can negate basically all of this by flipping the switch on the surge protectors when I am not using anything. That is not incontinent at all. The only things I left plugged in independent of everything else are the WiFi and the Cable Box (it’s a DVR), as they are things which in order to be useful must be on always. So by not spending a cent and not losing any functionality I all but eliminated my phantom energy draw. And the way to make it ultimately convenient would be to have a surge protector type device that could be turned on and off with a remote control, that way the slight inconvenient of having to turn the power back on would be all but gone as well. I hope people can see from this that it is not impossible or inconvenient to be responsible with the resources you use, plus it makes you feel good about yourself!

Midterm Answer, if you were interested:

A goal I would like to set for myself is to see how much phantom energy I waste and how much I can save through simple everyday changes. I do not yet have a fully formed idea of how I will go about this, but I think it is a very worthy undertaking class or no class. As the topic of the class states, most people waste huge amounts of energy without ever knowing it. I aim to make myself “know it” as well as “live it.” And by that cheesy second quote I mean change my habits and see how much of a difference it makes. I will then make my final blog post (or make an additional post if this fails the requirements of the four necessary) about my findings and feelings about what I had done. I will aim to do this in as reasonable a way as possible.  I once was in an environmental sustainability class and the professor gave us a required assignment to go 24-hours without the use of electricity. And while I understand and agree with the intentions, the assignment was a failure because most everyone I talked to faked the end results. It would be nice to live in a world where everyone stopped wasting everything, walked everywhere, and had no negative impact on the environment. But that simply isn’t reality. We must work within the boundaries of the world we live in it is the only way to truly effect change. Barack Obama did not win by running an outsider Nader style campaign. He played within the system and used it to his advantage. And that is precisely what we should do. And much in the same way people should be realistic and ready for President Obama to disappoint them; I too am prepared to be disappointed by the results of my undertaking. My change in habits may not have the level of impact I hope it will, or at least compared to the effort I feel I put in. But I will only know for sure by attempting it, by attempting some level of change, no matter how small. That is my goal.

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