wouldn't you love it if . . .


we all stopped using so much electricity?

Well, apparently it’s starting to happen!

This comes from statesman.com:

From 1980 to 2000, residential power demand grew by about 2.5 percent a year. From 2000 to 2010, the growth rate slowed to 2 percent. Over the next 10 years, demand is expected to decline by about 0.5 percent a year, according to the Electric Power Research Institute, a nonprofit group funded by the utility industry.

So, right now, we’re buying more and more electronics, but the demand for power is not increasing as much as one would think to accommodate them. I am most encouraged by the line about the projection into the next decade, where we’re expected to demand less each year.

What can be the reasons for more stuff needing more power but less demand for power?

Well, first there’s the Energy Star program that involves collaboration between the government and manufacturers. The government sets the standards and ratings, the manufacturers produce electronics that use less energy via better conservation of the energy they do use and via things like automatic switch offs. It used to be that only large appliances carried this rating and certification, but I’ve recently seen it on laptop computers and even alarm clock radios!

Second, and to me more encouragingly, there’s the movement toward solar energy. In Southern Arizona, where I currently live, there’s no good reason not to go solar in my mind. I mean, really, what do we have more of than sun? So, if you’re in Southern Arizona and want to go solar, these guys are a good resource, and no this is not a paid endorsement. (If it were, I’d have to print their name!) Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California that built their new library with recycled materials and so many solar panels that the college makes money from selling electricity to the utility company!  Now that’s using solar power.

Thirdly, some folks are simply abiding by the power companies’ advice on when to consume electric power. Some of the “off peak” times are so late (or early?) in the day that I’m sure it cuts people’s consumption. Most electric companies provide programs like this one at my local utility.

So, no matter whether we’re buying better electronics, using electricity more sparingly on off hours or selling power back from our solar panels, we’re moving in the right direction. Less power use equals smaller carbon footprint and lower bills. This is all to the good whether you are politically, socially or fiscally movtivated.

Rock on!