Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Environmentalism Issue Strategy Memo, Part III

In Parts I and II, we looked at how hard it is to get consumers to focus, in a deep and sustained way, on the stuff that really matters in improving the environment. In Part III, I put forth an idea that seems like it might, just might, in some small way, work.

We need a solution that measures and displays electrical consumption in real-time. The solution I envision would involve wirelessly transmitting power consumption data for appliances to a small screen, conveniently mounted in the kitchen or family room. Ideally, major appliances would each have a built-in transmitter. In the meantime, X10-style plug in modules for major appliances would go a long way.

Clever graphical representation of the data would be the other piece of the puzzle. Showing people how much more $ and carbon they consumed the day they kept their thermostat at 72, versus when they set it at 65, etc.

Postscript 2008-05-14

This city-sized, accidental experiment in Juneau is interesting:
“People are suddenly interested in talking about their water heaters,” said Maria Gladziszewski, who handles special projects for the city manager’s office. “As they say, it’s a teachable moment.”

Postscript 2008-01-25

This experiment demonstrates the potential:
The results of the research project...suggest that if households have digital tools to set temperature and price preferences, the peak loads on utility grids could be trimmed by up to 15 percent a year.

1 comment:

  1. That is a great idea, I would certainly buy one. Another issue is the pull a ll of appliances still have on usage even wehn they are not "on". Just by being plugged in they pull energy. We need to add a true cutoff for appliances when they are not "on", except for those that you need to clock to still function.