Monday, April 13, 2009

Making energy inconvenient campaign!

Reducing CO2 can be looked at from a supply and demand side. From a supply side, we can look at increasing renewables such as PV, wind, wave power,etc to complement the dirty coal power supply. From the demand side, we can look to to businesses, govts, ngos and consumers to reduce energy demand.

On the demand side we can do several things to influence demand. Charge more for energy. Did this really stop us from using oil? Ration energy (happens during hot temperature days to prevent blackouts). Have better energy efficiency standards. (Which I believe is an excellent way to reduce demand and drive innovation.) Educate people. Useful, but it's too easy to indulge in excess energy consumption when things are "on tap".

Considering the "on tap energy" problem, I had a "newton apple moment", when using my netbook on the go. Why doesn't all electrical equipment have batteries as the main source, and periodically charge when needed? Do we really need to be constantly "plugged in"? Do desktop computers need to be plugged in? Do televisions need to be plugged in? Or can they use batteries, and be charged overnight? A huge problem that needs to be tackled is "THE CONVENIENCE OF ENERGY". Batteries can teach us to be conservative with our use. Forcing us to take an extra step to "plug in" should be the default. This process should make us think about our usage and hopefully reduce demand.

Batteries, however, can be quite toxic. Thus we should consider how we can recycle batteries after they are past their use by date in "cradle to cradle" manner. This requires a standardization of design within industry fields. Television manufacturers should adopt a certain battery spec, desktop manufactuers are battery spec. So, I think this problem can be overcome.

I'm hoping this type of thinking can start as a trend in one industry, and build to a tipping point where it is adopted in others, because of the benefits for the environment. Can desktop manufacturers be the guinea pigs? DELL? LENOVO? ASUS? HP?

DESKTOP PCs with batteries! Let's make Al Gore proud, and make energy inconvenient!

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