technology

You are currently browsing articles tagged technology.

Call or write to Black & Decker to demand that the company launches its Thermal Leak Detector in Europe and elsewhere. This is the single most useful energy saving device I have ever seen. Europeans can buy it from Amazon.com in the States, but shipping and customs charges make it quite expensive. Let’s get it here before the winter ends.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Image source: Aviation Enviroment Federation.

Image source: Aviation Enviroment Federation.

The UK government asked the wrong question. It demanded that the Committee on Climate Change calculated how much air travel can rise without causing an increase in aviation emissions. Not unsurprisingly, the CCC answered by saying that the number of trips could rise at the same rate as efficiency improvements in air travel. The Committee said that emissions per passenger will fall by about 1% a year, and so travel could rise by about this amount. No shocks there.

By 2050, the CCC opined, the number of passengers taking trips from UK airports can rise to 370 million a year, up from 230 million today. The maximum possible number of new passengers at Heathrow from the addition of new runway and sixth terminal is about 60 million. Hoorah, said the industry, there’s space for the expansion. Unsurprisingly, the press misinterpreted the Committee’s report and said that it had ‘approved’ the government’s plans for the airport. By answering the government’s disiningenous question, the CCC has lost some of its impartiality.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Image source: Taiga Company.

Image source: Taiga Company.

1) If you buy just one new appliance in 2010, make it a really efficient fridge-freezer. The improvements in the energy use of the best fridge-freezers have been really impressive in the last few years. If you have an old refrigerator, it may be responsible for as much as a sixth of your electricity bill. A good new machine might use less than a half as much power, particularly if it is not too large. A second benefit is that by choosing to buy a really efficient refrigerator you will be sending a clear signal to the manufacturers that energy consumption matters. An impressive new web site – www.energytariff.co.uk – allows you to compare the electricity used by almost all the appliances currently in UK shops. You can make well-informed choices from your computer.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Let’s face it: energy efficiency is boring when compared to the (relative) excitement of developing new sources of low-carbon electricity or heat. The popular science magazines are full of articles on new forms of solar panel and the latest designs for wind turbines. Improving the insulation of ordinary homes, shifting to LED lighting or increasing the take-up of heat pumps rarely command the attention of editors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wittingly or unwittingly, many manufacturers make it difficult to compare the electricity consumption of home appliances such as TVs and refrigerators. Although many appliances have been through standard EU tests and then been awarded a letter grade for energy efficiency, these grades are increasingly unhelpful in distinguishing between the excellent and the merely satisfactory. As in British school exams, an A grade doesn’t mean much because it covers such as wide range of performance.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Copyright: Next Energy and Resources Co.

Copyright: Next Energy and Resources Co.

Solar photovoltaics slowly lose their generating capacity. Although some solar panels are still working satisfactorily 40 years after installation, the conventional view is that most will dip below 80% of their rated capacity within about 20 years. This will vary slightly between manufacturers and between different types of silicon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , ,

Mitsubishi Ecodan. Image source: Ecodan Brochure.

Mitsubishi Ecodan. Image source: Ecodan brochure.

(The information in this article has been updated by a more optimistic article that looks at the before and after experience of a ASHP installation in Oxford, Please go to http://www.carboncommentary.com/2010/08/03/1632)

Small heat pumps are increasingly used to provide space and water heating in UK homes. This trend is strongly encouraged by policy-makers and the government’s proposed Renewable Heat Incentive will add further financial support. The enthusiasm for this expensive technology should be moderated: for a home on the mains gas network, the savings in money will be small. Carbon benefits are probable but far from guaranteed. Moreover, air source heat pumps are unlikely to be able to heat many older homes effectively. Government, manufacturers, and installers need to be very much more cautious in encouraging the use of heat pumps and should use far more conservative payback assumptions. Heat pumps will eventually be a good investment for homeowners but probably not yet.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Smart meters will work with real-time energy displays showing energy use around the home. Photograph: Energy Retailers Association/PA.

Smart meters will work with real-time energy displays showing energy use around the home. Photograph: Energy Retailers Association/PA.

Monday’s announcement by the UK government for smart meters for every home is heavy on ‘empowering consumers’ with real-time knowledge of our energy use and therefore helping us reduce our consumption. But we shouldn’t assume that this is the real reason why the UK is pushing ahead with the compulsory replacement of all meters.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Ed Miliband, Minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photograph: David Levene/Guardian.

Ed Miliband, Minister for the Department of Energy and Climate Change. Photograph: David Levene/Guardian.

The government wants to emphasise the affordability of climate change mitigation. It produces low estimates of the cost of low-carbon technologies. In the recent 2009 budget documents, the government estimated a cost of 1% of GDP to meet the tough new 2020 targets. In his pronouncement on carbon capture at coal-fired power stations, energy and climate change secretary Ed Miliband later said that his proposals will add 2% to electricity bills.

Are these numbers reasonable? Professor Sir David King, the former chief scientific adviser, says no. In a BBC interview of 26 April, he indicates that he thinks that the cost of reducing the UK’s emissions is much higher than the government indicates but also that the financial implications of not dealing with the climate change threat are far higher than even Nick Stern suggests.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image source: Smith Electric Vehicles.

Image source: Smith Electric Vehicles.

Gordon Brown says he wants two or three cities to trial electric vehicles before the end of next year. After many false dawns, are we finally about to see the era of the battery car?

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

« Older entries