Talk:Energy conservation

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Incorrect Statements About Telecommuting[edit]

This paragraph about telecommuting has several technically inaccurate statements. In my opinion, these reflect political, reactionary, anti-environmentalist views, such as those of Mark P. Mills. Energy experts at Lawrence Berkeley and elsewhere strongly disagree with Mills, and they have shown that his estimates of energy use is incorrect by orders of magnitude. See, for example:

http://enduse.lbl.gov/Projects/InfoTech.html

I have modified this paragraph. I was careful to preserve the original reactionary views, but I would like to point out that in my opinion they are factually incorrect. Here is my revised version with some footnotes not included in the article text:


Telecommuting may have a detrimental impact as well, as it requires a vast computer infrastructure to be effective. Worldwide, this infrastructure consumes significant energy resources. [1] However, much of this infrastructure is already in place for other uses, and it is more energy efficient to move data across a network than to transport a person physically from home to workplace. [2] This is why U.S. companies hire people in India to answer telephones; the telephone connection costs only pennies a day. [3]


[1] Telecommunications consume 6.6TW-h worldwide, but this is "only about 6% of all electricity consumed by nonresidential office and telecommunications equipment." [1] Overall, telecommunications and computers have drastically reduced energy consumption per dollar of GDP by improving efficiency, and preventing waste. Since the internet became popular in the mid 1980s, electric power consumption has grown moderately, at 1.5% per year, which is a lower rate than previously. Since we must have telephones and computers anyway, it is obvious that using them to telecommute adds virtually nothing to overall energy consumption.

[2] This should really be "thousands to millions of times more energy efficient." An individual fiber transmits hundreds of megabytes per second up to hundreds of kilometers, and it consumes 1 to 10 mW driven by lasers, or 0.1 mW driven by LEDs. In other words, the energy cost for a full-time, real time audio, video and internet connection from your house to your office would be measured in milliwatts. All modern office workers have computers and internet connections anyway, and most people have computers at home. It costs the same to run your home computer as your office computer, and presumably only one is turned on at a time. The only extra energy in telecommuting is for the data transmission between the house and the office. You consume far more energy than this brewing a cup of coffee, or driving a car 1 meter, or breathing, for that matter.

[3] Internet transmission costs no more than a penny per megabyte these days, which is enough for a minute of compressed speech. That is why retail phone card calls from the U.S. to India cost as little as $0.05 per minute. The offshore companies pay much less. A firm in Washington DC offers offshore video secretarial services. That is to say, they provide offices in Washington, D.C. with a full-time secretary who is connected on two-way high-resolution real time video over the Internet to Karachi, Pakistan. See: Washington Post, "Virtual Secretary Puts New Face on Pakistan," May 10, 2005.

We could include more of these references and background information in the article, if readers here think that would be appropriate. I did not want to get into extensive detail.

- JedRothwell

Air conditioning[edit]

There's an excellent article on A/C at [2] with a lot of valuable information that can be incorporated into this article.