Miscellaneous Electrical Load (MEL)

Miscellaneous Electrical Load (MEL)  in buildings are electric loads resulting from electronic devices not responsible for space heating, cooling, water heating, or lighting. MELs are produced by hard-wired and “plug-in” electrical devices, including home entertainment centers, kitchen electronics such as microwaves and toaster ovens, bath items such as hair dryers and electric hot tubs, and others such as security systems and ceiling fans.

Early generation phone chargers used a lot of electricity and were also a danger if left plugged into the phone. In recent years chargers for phones and other new electronics like laptops have more energy efficient features like an automatic shutoff and sleep mode.

MEL is estimated to contribute 4-12% of the total household energy usage and while many newer electronic devices will come with energy efficient features, things like refrigerators and microwaves are not replaced often so the likelihood of these devices being energy hogs is high.

The other major contributor to MEL are devices that are always connected to the internet. The increasing use of electronics connected to WiFi for example is only going to increase as we move inexorably towards a wireless world. Internet business experts estimate that by 2020 there will be 50 billion devices constantly connected to the internet. Some of the more futuristic things that will be connected to your phone or the computer chip in your brain are coffee makers, pacemakers, cars, and of course cows.

There are a few proposed solutions, some more feasible and long term than others. TheWhole House Switch is somewhat like a circuit breaker for everything in your house. The idea is that when you go out all the electronics can be switched off all at once. This solution requires some pretty serious rewiring that may not even offset the energy saved.

The best solution is a combination of advances in the technology combined with government incentives to upgrades appliances to the latest energy efficient models. For example, new advances in semi-conductor materials means faster and cheaper energy transmission with little environmental loss. When exactly these scientific progressions will be available for the homeowner is still a matter of some debate.

One short term solution is to put timers on the devices that don’t need to be on all night. I have a timer attached to my TV, modem, and cable box that shuts off automatically at night. Timers can be purchased from Tashman Home Center.

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Jalousie aka louvre windows are terrible

This post was written by Alex for Tashman Home Center in Los Angeles.

louvre windows

If you live some where that is not temperate year round you may not have run into this abominable style of windows. For obvious reasons, installing these things somewhere cold is a terrible idea but installing them somewhere warm is also silly.

Invented well before the advent of air conditioning, Jalousie windows are meant to utilize natural ventilation to cool homes in hot areas like Southern California. Now that we have entered a more modern age where air conditioners are pretty standard in places like Los Angeles, Jalousie windows are a waste of money, energy , and resources.

Which brings us to the crux of the matter; the importance of good window insulation. Tashman Home Center is one of the few remaining retailers of louvre windows but we do not recommend them at all.

Instead we recommend aluminum or Vinyl windows with Low E glass for extra energy efficiency. For more on our various styles of windows, see our info page or our Catalog.

window types

Will Water Be a Commodity More Sought After then Gold?

Hollywood has done a decent job keeping us entertained over the years. Futuristic movies have grasped out imagination with tales of how water is scarce and survival after an apocalypse is anything but ideal. However, how much content from those movies are purely imaginative considering the world wide events of today? Will the world’s supply of fresh water become as precious to us as gold and oil?

Glaciers
For the inhabitants near glacier parks, as well as providing fresh water to rivers that span hundreds of miles, the reality of no water is a fact of life. Across the globe, glaciers are melting at an incredible rate pouring greater amounts of water into the oceans. This has, in turn, increased the sea levels at a rapid pace. Within our lifetime, island cities such as the Maldives will be submerged as could be several areas of Florida and other coastal states and cities. In Peru, 1600 years’ worth of ice has melted in less than three decades. How much more will we lose as a species before preventative measures are taken?

Rain Forests
Rain forests are more important than merely providing a habitat for the creatures that live within them. Each year, rains produced within the forests have declined steadily as trees and plant life are removed to provide land for cattle and commodities. Shouldn’t the water produced by these forests be considered a greater commodity than cotton or corn?

United States
In a report completed earlier in 2013 by the Natural Resources Defense Council of Tetra Tech, more than two-thirds of the counties in the US will have reservoirs unable to sustain the population demand by 2050. Changes in the climate and irregular weather patterns will not be able to replenish reservoirs that are in use. An overwhelming amount of the population wants the government to step in and address the problem of water shortages, but very few trust that the government will do anything about the problem.

Wasted Water for Production
Did you know that it takes more than 39,000 gallons of water to produce a new car? If you consider that a single human can consume up to one gallon of water per day, this is enough water to hydrate a person for more than his or her lifetime. Industry exhausts a great deal of water between cooling, lubricating, cleaning and any other use that requires liquid. The more we consume products as a global population, the faster the water is used. The very thing that is keeping economies functional will be a major contributor to its demise if things don’t change.

Toxic Chemical Levels
Many skeptics don’t believe that humans are the cause of climate change due to higher levels of carbon dioxide that is produced through various means. While they focus the quality of air, not many look at the ground. Chemicals that we take for granted are being put into the Earth and poisoning our water supply. Whether this poisoning of the water tables is on accident or not is irrelevant. That fact is that humans are responsible for contaminating water supplies through inappropriate or negligent actions.

At the current rate of decline, it will only be a matter of a few decades before the lack of water can create situations similar to those apocalyptic movies we grew up with. Whether our governments believe in global warming or not shouldn’t be the focus of their attention. Dehydration of the population is a reality and more efforts should be involved to sustain the people of any area.

Author Bio:

Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College.  As president of  morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.

 

Cloud computing and the wasteful excesses of data centres

data-center

Cloud computing and the wasteful excesses of data centres

 

With the rapid increase in the use of cloud services and the number of cloud service options available, more data centres have popped up all over the globe, bringing with them a higher demand for electricity. Recent reports by the Energy Conservation Bureau suggest that data centres now consume 3% of all electricity generated in the United States. A September New York Times article, “Power, Pollution and the Internet”, reports that data centres waste large amounts of energy, with only 6 – 12% of energy used by data centres going towards computing.

Data centres often consist of rows of servers, computers whose primary purposes are to process data. The heat generated by these servers can melt crucial computer components, risking data loss. As data centres have grown many now spread rows of servers over hundreds of thousands of square feet and utilize industrial cooling systems to combat overheating. Tens of thousands of data centres now exist to support the heavy demands of internet use, with many of the largest internet companies running servers at full capacity regardless of demand, resulting in the excessive wasting of energy.

There are ways to build more energy-efficient data centres. Providers can consider re-evaluating their redundancy, utilizing storage virtualization, consolidating their servers, and upgrading to energy efficient technology. Some data centres utilize their environment to cool their systems, such as a local waterfall or cold Arctic air. If clients outsource data centre management to high quality facilities that follow these practices, they can avoid forming their own poor management habits. Outsourcing can also save clients from having to upscale and downscale their own equipment to match the changing demands on their business.

Though outsourcing offers advantages, if large data centres are not optimally managed, these industry practices only contribute to more energy consumption. A large data centre is not inherently more energy efficient than a small one, and the spreading of load does not guarantee a reduced need for capacity. It stands to reason the cloud service providers need more spare capacity available to serve their clients than if clients operated their own facilities. Some argue that cloud services help to improve the situation, leading to a consolidation and centralization of computing among large, well-operated data centres. This is not necessarily the case.

Powering the internet is a very environmentally unfriendly prospect. Cloud computing presents a path towards improving the situation, but it is not a solution in and of itself.

 

Mac Connolly has worked in the technology industry for the past 25 years, working for various well-known brands. He is currently working with Melbourne Server Hosting as a freelance writer sharing his experience of technology and the advances within green hosting and data centres.

GreenCloudImage

 

 

Cap and Trade Infographic

I have been meaning to write an article on cap and trade in the United States but it can be hard for people to understand and without other major polluting countries having similar programs, the whole thing seemed somewhat pointless.

In the US, however, the program will have an effect on our poor sad economy and thus should be addressed.  I still don’t want to write about though, so here is a great ideographic from the people at http://www.wellhome.com

 

 

BIO-FUELS ARE BAD pt.2

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So in contemplating my thumbs down on bio-fuels, I realize I haven’t been fair by not mentioning where using bio-fuels would be a great idea. 

For example I was reading about these little machines that are being marketing as a home bio-fuel producers. The idea is that people will throw their excess alcohol into this machine and it will be converted to ethanol by what is basically just a mini distillery. This is not a good idea. First of all who has significant amounts of alcohol left over? I know I usually finish a beer I open.  Even if they could be exclusively marketed to frat-houses I imagine the frat boys would just drink the pure ethanol the machine produces

       A good use of the same technology is exemplified by the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company who makes a great IPA among other things.  They will convert their excess bio-waste into ethanol and use that to fuel all their delivery trucks. Brilliant!

There are a great many waste products that could be fermented and distilled into fuel and utilizing that kind of synergy would not only save these companies money but could take a chunk out of fossil fuel demand.

References:

Sierra Nevada

EFUEL

Triple Pundit

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