Energy management via Force

John K sent me this link today that i find really intriguing.

It shows a prototype of a switch or dimmer for household use that becomes harder to turn on when another switch is on. The slider has increased resistance based on power usage.

The concept is that you go to turn on a light in your bedroom and it gently reminds you that you have on lights all over the house. I like the idea. I struggle to get my family to manage electrical use in our home. I have even installed timers on switches that often get left on downstairs in the basement. The kids confound me by overriding the timers!

I like the idea presented of setting energy goals for the home and having the very devices that you deal with all the time remind you of the goals. It's not that you can't turn the lights on - but it is harder to do so. A gentle reminder.

I also would like to request the option of making the TV not come on if the lights in my kids rooms are on!  What do you think of these options? The comments from readers on the link above are not too kind. Take a look at a few.

The last guy really takes the cake. "When faced with the choice to save 20 bucks or half a tree ... I'll choose the Jackson everyday."  Why is it that we are not willing to invest in saving energy? Always chasing the dollar.

I wonder if his grandkids will feel the same way? If there are any "half trees" left that is.

Published 03-10-2009 4:24 PM by dlincecum
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# re: Energy management via Force

I'm intrigued by this idea.  My dogs lack opposable thumbs (and height), therefore they are not the culprits in my household.  But, I'm constantly forgetting to shut down the many control consoles and monitors in my office at the end of the day.... I try to remember to flip the switch on the power strips, to reduce the energy load even further... but mostly forget.  I try to remember to unplug the coffee pot, toaster and coffee grinder before I go on a trip, but I generally forget.  I'd pay for this!  It's green.  Green is good.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 3:21 PM by Anne Valentino

# re: Energy management via Force

I would say the last guy is more the rule than the exception. You may have noticed that no one seemed all that interested in turning in their suburban for a prius until gas got to $4.00/gallon. If I recall, one study actually showed that as a country we drove 10% less once the price of gas topped $3.50.

The other issue is folks that want to appear green even if does not make sense. We are on the cusp of LED lighting becoming a real answer to every day commercial lighting. However, several governmental bodies have decided that we should use this particular technology for marketing reasons rather than because it will actually lower energy use.

I think we all need to focus on the goal and not the means to goal. If regulatory bodies would focus on enacting rules that set goals (i.e. lumens per watt) rather than prescribing one technology to achieve that goal, I think our private enterprise system would innovate the technologies we need to achieve our goals.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009 3:48 PM by jonedward