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Video: Saving Energy around the Water Cooler

Looking for ways to save energy in the workplace? Water coolers/heaters are ubiquitous in offices around the world. Nearly all of them are left on all night long when there’s no point in keeping the hot water hot and the cold water cold. Until recently, your humble Chelsea Green was guilty of this wasteful practice. Well, you know us—we just couldn’t pass up an opportunity to quickly and cheaply green the place up even further. In this video, Jonathan Teller-Elsberg explains how he installed an automatic power timer to save energy and reduce cost. After we’d filmed this segment, a fellow grasshopper pointed out that plug-in automatic timers consume a small amount of electricity themselves—suggesting that we might actually end up with a net loss of energy savings. Well, we wouldn’t want to suggest to our readers they take one step forward and two steps back in the race to reduce carbon emissions. With this in mind, Jonathan used his handy-dandy Kill-A-Watt electricity usage monitor and found that, even with the timer sipping electricity constantly, we still end up with a net energy savings. Here’s Jonathan:
The cooler uses roughly 0.58 kWh of electricity per night (see “Thoughts inspired by the release of our other co-latest Green Guide: Greening Your Office”). So our gross savings using the automatic on/off timer are 0.58 kWh per day. Meanwhile, the timer uses roughly 0.024 kWh per day. That gives us a net savings each day of roughly 0.556 kWh. The financial payback time for the timer is probably something like 4 months. After that, it’s all savings, all the time.
Of course, Jonathan tells me, the financial payback time depends on how much energy the timer is saving you—the bigger the energy hog, the faster the payback time.
Be sure to check out GreenTweet TV for more energy saving green tips.


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

50 Low-Cost, Low-Tech Solutions to Save the Planet

Tired of watching people spend so much time thinking up big solutions to big problems that it has a paralyzing effect on taking action? If you’re like author Courtney White, the answer is yes. That’s why in Two Percent Solutions for the Planet, he takes readers on a journey to show how low-cost, easy-to-implement solutions […] Read More..

Beyond the War on Invasive Species – Review in Permaculture Design Magazine

This review was originally published in Permaculture Design, Issue #97, “Life on the Edge,” Fall 2015; www.PermacultureDesignMagazine.com Look in the Mirror Review by Peter Bane For its extensive scholarship, clear voice, and impassioned, hopeful message, this book is a joy to read—a slim but beautifully written teaching text which uses permaculture and ecosystem science as a lens for viewing the […] Read More..

5 Common Invasive Species and How to Manage Them

Last week, we asked authors Tao Orion and Katrina Blair to share alternative approaches to managing five different plant species commonly held to be “invasive.” St. John’s Wort, Garlic Mustard, Thistle, Oxeye Daisy, and Kudzu are often dismissed as annoyances at best and the target of aggressive eradication with harmful chemicals at worst. Orion and […] Read More..

What in the World is a Pawpaw?

Have you heard of the pawpaw? A few generations ago, most would say “yes!” You could ask just about anyone and they could tell you what this fruit looked and tasted like, and more importantly, where to find it. But today, the pawpaw remains a mystery to some and entirely unknown to others. In Pawpaw: […] Read More..
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