Energy Conservation Basics

  • Gasoline is a prime example high cost promotes conservation/ fuel efficiency; low cost promotes high usage.

  • Subsidized energy usage also does not promote conservation

  • Exponential energy usage curtailed by high price

  • What areas are good for conservation?

    The above calculations assume a low price of 6 cents per KWH. Most areas around the country pay 12-15 cents per KWH.

    Consider a typical family of four house equipped with

    We can model their costs using this Java applet:

    The average electricity generated by the use of these appliances plus standard household incandescent lighting is about 20,000 KWH per year. At 10 cents per KWH this is 2000 dollars.

    The above did not include heating. For most locations, heating requires around 10,000 KWH per year (or more). This means that the typical household energy bill is about $250 per month in many locations around the country.

    This is sufficiently high that it is possible to identify areas where energy conservation is effective and leads to lower utility bills. In fact, most utility companies want their customers to conserve energy and will offer rebates for energy conserving appliances.

    Are these utility companies practicing good citizenship or are there other reasons? Well, it costs utility companies big bucks whenever demand exceeds capacity and they would like to avoid that situation at all costs.

    Saving dollars on lighting

    About 20% of all electrical energy is for lighting.

    Fluorescent vs. Incandescent Bulbs an example calculation that Joe and Jane Six Pack never do!

    Be subversive, buy your parents a fluorescent light bulb for Xmas!

    Now lets calculate the total cost over the lifetime of the fluorescent bulb assuming a cost rate of 10 cents per KWH.

    • Fluorescent bulb = 10,000 hours * 15 Watts = 150 KWH * 10 cents per KWH = $15 + the cost of the bulb total cost = 35$

    • Incan bulb = 1,000 hours * 75 Watts = 75 KWH * 10 cents per KWH = $7.50 + the cost of the bulb total cost = $8.25

    • Now multiply this by 10 = $82.50

    So, over a 10,000 hour period, the fluorescent bulb has a total cost of $35 and the Incands have a total cost of $82.50.

    Clearly always use fluorescent bulbs if you are interested in saving energy and money.

    Previous Lecture Next Lecture Course Page